Total Film - - Small Screen -

Tomu Uchida’s pe­riod drama is a samu­rai movie – but for­get thoughts of in­vin­ci­ble swords­men. The samu­rai here, Lord Sakawa, is an ami­able, slightly feck­less fig­ure who turns nasty when drunk. The hero is Gon­pachi, his bulky spear-car­rier, who lum­bers along keep­ing an eye on his mas­ter – and proves for­mi­da­ble when the chips are down. For most of its length this is a re­laxed, hu­mor­ous road movie; only in the last few min­utes does the vi­o­lence ex­plode, and is all the more fear­some for it. Philip Kemp

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