Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai ★★★★½

"This is the nature of war: By protecting others, you save yourselves. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself.”

Seven masterless samurai in feudal Japan help villagers defend themselves from raiders.

If the imitation (The Magnificent Seven) is the highest form of praise, Seven Samurai truly deserves being called one of the finest movies ever made: it inspired a host of imitators, from 1978 Star Wars rip-off Battle Beyond the Stars to Pixar’s 1998 computer-animated film A Bug’s Life. And this were not the only work by Kurosawa remade for Western audiences. I watched both Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven and I have to agree that Kurosawa's black-and-white epic is way more superior to Sturges' formulaic Hollywood version, which only featured a star cast rather than solid actors. I know there are so many people who say that Seven Samurai is long and rambling and too much excessive but I think that was because Kurosawa did care to flesh out all the main plot elements, giving equal attention to the character camaraderie, action, adventure, comedy, drama and romance. It did not feel rushed and it featured a very strong and solid plot full of crackling dialogues, charming characters and frenetic action, not to mention some nice, idyllic romance. The scene of Toshiro Mifune bursting out at his fellow samurai is clearly one of the finest scenes in the history of world cinema and the action scenes, while suffering some a few glitches, are nevertheless very realistic, urgent and thrilling.

Sturges' film does not have any soul. It merely feels like a less-than-2-hour lite version of the original film, featuring a couple of good scenes like Couburn's knife-throwing antics or Eli Wallach's snarl but eventually, it was Much Ado About Nothing; we don't even feel anything for each of the saviours, except for Charles Bronson....