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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 9 February 2015
It is not unusual for American films to get influence from overseas - think of `The Seven Samurai' being remade as `The Magnificent Seven' for instance. Here the favour is returned with Korean/Japanese director San-Il Lee who has taken the original `Unforgiven' and made it into a Japanese period piece. Set in 1869 we have the end of the Sohugunates and the start of modern Japan. This also means the end of the Samurai and their way of life.

Two of these former Samurai let things get out of hand at the local brothel and one of the girls is brutally attacked. The girls offer a reward for revenge on these men and our hero - Jubei (Ken Watanabe `The Last Samurai') gets coerced into giving up his farming and taking up the sword.

This follows the path of the original very closely and as such there will not be any surprises for devotees of the Eastwood one. However where it does score quite highly is in the cinematography. Also the juxta positioning of the old and the new worlds colliding and something being lost in the process is very well realised. In Japanese and running for 135 minutes this is a fine tribute to the original.
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on 13 November 2015
Fascinating to compare this with Eastwood original, but it has it's own story to tell about Japan's native population that came as a complete surprise to me. Worth watching more than once to fully appreciate how similar yet different to the original.
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on 24 October 2015
As a fan of Kurosawa, and in particular Seven Samurai, I was fascinated by how a Japanese (Korean?) director would interpret the great American original. Although I could follow the story mainly in reference to the scenes and characters in Clint Eastwood's version, the Lee Sang-il version was completely embedded in Hokkaido as a rough and tough frontier territory set at the same time as Eastwood's original.

The parallels between the two cultures - Japan's North and America's West in the 1880s - is uncanny. All the major characters in the originals have their Hokkaido equivalent, with very similar personalities, but still very Japanese.

Lee Sang-il explores these parallels further by bring in the relationship with the natives (Ainu in Japan) into the story. It makes you ask what could have been Eastwood's interpretation of the relationships between settlers and natives in the 1880's American West.

Watanabe is of course magnificent in the Clint Eastwood role. However, my favourite character is Goro Sawada, played by Yûya Yagira, who is the young braggart of the trio who work together to kill. Far more than the Schofield Kid, this character matures and understands the real meaning of killing through the film. Have a look at the "Making of" to see the film through his eyes.

(Spoiler) Lee Sang-il was strong enough to give his version a different ending. But this ending is one area which highlights where there was a difference between the Japanese and American cultures. As a previous reviewer commented, in America, a killer could become a farmer. In Japan, this just wasn't possible. Samurai did not become farmers.
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This film has everything it has a hero a master criminal and and many other wonderfull characters when a woman is hurt by two ex samurai warriors in a brothel she pays for revenge ken watanabe character is poverty stricken looking after a farm and two young children due to his wife's death a old friend comes by the farm and offers him work to help the hurt woman. After a while he agrees to the mission and goes to help along the way they meet some brilliant charecters who have different reasons to join this mission. This is a must see it is a exceptional film it is a Japanese version that takes its own twist to the american version I have both versions the other starring Clint Eastwood and both are as good as each other.
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on 25 February 2016
Usually the US remake Eastern classics. This is the other way round, with a retelling of the Clint Eastwood saga with a samurai twist. Follows the storyline well, with the necessary cultural differences. Good viewing, beautifully shot.
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on 1 September 2014
Brilliant watch twice and still brilliant
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on 18 September 2014
A very enjoyable film
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on 28 January 2015
Great Movie
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on 28 April 2016
Arrived on time and in excellent condition. Very happy with my purchase. Ken Watanabe is a fine actor. Nice to get a different view on a wonderful story.
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on 1 March 2016
A samurai version of Clint Eastwood Classic Film.
Good acting; Brooding Film.
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