Mifune: The Last Samurai

2015

Biography / Documentary

1
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 1068

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
September 07, 2021 at 04:55 AM

Director

Cast

Keanu Reeves as Narrator
Toshirô Mifune as (archive footage)
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
733.41 MB
1280*714
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 19 min
P/S counting...
1.47 GB
1920*1072
English 5.1
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 19 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jakob13 8 / 10

Almost a god

We owe a debt of gratitude to Steve Okazaki, an American film maker of Japanese ancestry, for recalling the magnetic Japanese film star Toshiro Mifune, who in collaboration principally but not exclusively with Akira Kurozawa, during 16 years of a frenetic, fecund period of Japanese cinema that left his indelible mark on world cinema. Okazaki cleverly kept his camera on Mifune as samurai, the last samurai, which is slightly misleading. The decline of rerun houses and Japanese film retrospectives may have dimmed the memory of an extraordinary actor. Mifune was an outsider, a fact few know. He was born in China, in Dalian. At 20, he first came to Japan for military service, not welcome but treated as second class. He kept his counsel, cultivated a quiet patience and persevered. In fact, an actor of the Golden Age of Japanese cinema, thought of only one word that defined Mifune: perseverance, a steadfastness ignoring difficulties in achieving success. Other actors spoke of his tenacity, his gambatte spirit, but also of his generosity and kindness. At first he had a limited vision of a career: a camera man, but Kurozawa saw something in him as an actor. And the rest, as they say is history. But Mifune's eyes, they had a hypnotic effect. They had a beam, a spark of something special, something god-like, if you will, that on screen the spectator knew he was in the presence of a talent that enchanted him. An actor whom his directors left alone to develop his character, and they were not wrong, for Mifune gave his all to his samurai and dramatic roles that so quickly resonated in his fans inner being. You only have to think of his peasant who wanted to become a warrior in 'Seven Samurai' or the gruff, quick thinking general in 'Hidden Fortress' or his wily 'Yojimbo' or his subtle portrayal in 'Red Beard',where without a sword he prevails. And then there's his portrayal of Kurozawa' adaptation of 'Macbeth', 'Throne of Blood' where real arrows were used to kill the usurper he portrays, and his costar Isusu Yamada as a spellbinding Noh like Lady Macbeth. Okazaki mentions but slights the broader acting skills of Mifune, with the great Takashi Imamura. Look again at 'High and Low', 'The Bad Sleep Well', 'Lower Depths' and the less great Kurozawa's version of Dostoevski's 'The Idiot' with the legendary Sestsko Hara. As the quintessential samurai, Mifune gained an international reputation and following. (What greater homage could be paid by Alain Delon in Melville's 'le samourai'). In later life, as head of a production company,he made and played endless endlessly the samurai. Never one to shirk responsibility, he brought his samurai into television as cinema waned. But age and the burden of keeping his emotions pent up, had its toll in heavy drinking and fast cars and scandal which broke up his marriage. And then alzheimer claimed him and he died at 77 in 1997. Now gone these almost 20 years, Okazaki brought him back to us and it is hoped to a younger generation of film enthusiasts who could do no better than to see Mifune's films.

Reviewed by MartinHafer 8 / 10

A must-see if you are looking to learn more about Mifune's film career.

Steven Okazaki directed this excellent documentary about the famous Japanese actor, Toshirô Mifune and it's narrated by Keanu Reeves. As a lover of Japanese films, seeing this picture was an absolute must and I must point out that many of my favorite Japanese movies starred this incredibly talented man. However, in many ways it's a film less for folks like me, as I've seen almost all the films they discussed in the documentary. Instead, it would be a perfect introduction to his films and would provide you with many great recommendations of pictures you simply have to watch! And, as I already love and respect Mifune, the film didn't do much to change this!

I should point out that if you want a more biographical look at the man, this may not completely satisfy you. You do learn about his life but I never exactly felt like I truly knew the man as I watched. Instead, it's much more of a filmography and as such highlighted his very best films and discussed them and their impact… as well as how Mifune was able to make the most in his performances. In fact, when you do learn personal information, it's mostly negative, such as his very heavy drinking and marital infidelity. I would have loved to hear more from his son, Shiro, in order to learn more about who Toshirô really was off camera. Shiro is featured….but I wanted to hear much more. In addition to interviews with the son, you hear from many actors who worked with him as well as from American directors like Spielberg and Scorsese! Wow…you wonder how Okazaki was able to get all this great contributors!

Overall, this is a very well crafted film with lots of beautiful film clips, excellent graphics and editing and is really a must-see for anyone interested in international cinema. It's also a must-see for anyone who loves the films of Akira Kurosawa, as many of their best films were collaborations and are discussed in detail in this lovely documentary.

Reviewed by gingerrdriley 6 / 10

Caramel M&Ms are alright, but I prefer peanut butter honestly.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who was wondering why it is they couldn't get a hold of Tatsuya Nakadai.

I feel that the approach they took with this documentary was a bit limiting. Given that "Samurai" is in the title it should come as no surprise that they, for the most part, really only talk about Mifune's roles as samurai in film. In a way it's both a documentary on Mifune and the chanbara genre as a whole. This is sort of a double edged sword for me. While I think it's valuable to provide background on the genre that Mifune is most famous for and which he in turn made popular outside of Japan, in the end it feels like you're sort of getting an incomplete picture of both him and the genre. The history lesson on the chanbara genre basically concludes with the introduction of Mifune and the history lesson on Mifune is more or less confined to his work in the chanbara genre.

All things considered, for as much as I like this documentary and am a fan of what it features, I sort of wish it were two separate documentaries. One which covers chanbara, or perhaps just jidaigeki as a whole, and one which covers Mifune a bit more comprehensively. That might be a bit more satisfying as a whole. I'm sure any fan of Mifune could understand what I'm getting at. For anyone who wants to see a documentary on Mifune, there's going to be frustration that roles like he had in 'The Bad Sleep Well', 'High and Low' and 'I Live in Fear' are basically ignored. Likewise, any fan of the chanbara genre is undoubtedly going to feel a but cheated that Tatsuya Nakadai is never referred to at all, and that the history feels incomplete.

I appreciate what this documentary is trying to do, and if you're a fan of Mifune, I would certainly recommend it. It could have been better though.

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