Friday, July 1, 2011
My current interest in samurai movies lead me last night to watch Sword of Doom, another classic of the genre. Directed by Kihachi Okamoto and released in 1966, Sword of Doom is the story of a cold, soulless semi-evil samurai named Ryunosuke. The first scene in the film shows him killing an old man on a pilgrimage to a shrine for no apparent reason and the rest of the movie continues in the same vein, with Ryunosuke's murders soon getting him expelled from his village. Forced to work as a hired gun in Edo, Ryunosuke becomes an assassin, spending his days gazing morosely into the distance and arguing with his wife (whom he's married after forcing her to have sex with him earlier in the film) and his nights killing other people for money. His 'empty style' of fighting makes him essentially impossible to defeat in battle, effectively draining the fight scenes of any suspense. There's a subplot about a brother of a man he's killed and his romance with a would-be courtesan, but mostly the movie is Ryunosuke, brooding. People who praise the film make much of the final ten minutes, an action sequence in which after going more or less insane, Ryunosuke attacks a houseful of armed men. For me, the ending didn't make up for the tedium of the first two hours. Lots of gorgeous and dramatic camera work, but not much of a story. (Apparently it was intended to be the first movie in a trilogy that was never made. Maybe that explains it).
For some reason I also watched half of the new episode of True Blood. Its incredible silliness intrigued me enough to want to know the backstory and that lead me to spend an hour reading episode summaries of the first three seasons. They were also silly. So, that's an hour I'll never get back.
Unsatisfying day of work yesterday. Feel down. Also, my blueberry muffin mix hasn't arrived in the mail. Isn't life hard enough already without having a tupperware of low fat blueberry muffins on hand to make it better?