We saw a fantastic movie at the Landmark last night called Twilight Samurai. It stars Hiroyuki Sanada who played the bad ass in The Last Samurai who beats the crap out of Tom Cruise and was the Samurai leader’s second in command.
What sets this movie apart from most Japanese Samurai movies is how vulnerable the hero is. He’s trying to lead a simple life and struggles to make ends meet. He is sensitive to his daughters and senile mother (his wife died of consumption) encouraging the daughters to study the classics (quite atypical) along with their needlework. He isn’t a typical bushido super-hero with perfect valor, but a petty Samurai who wants nothing more than to watch his daughters blossom into young women. As you might expect, it isn’t always that easy to maintain a simple life for a Samurai with duties.
This isn’t the movie for you if you’re looking for one gratuitious battle after another. The fighting is scarce, but significant to the story, well done, and have a realistic look to them. There are no crouching tigers nor hidden dragons here.