Lee Sang-il (2014)

15 Certificate


Our Score
More than 50 years after Hollywood remade The Seven Samurai as The Magnificent Seven, Japanese director Lee Sang-il returns the favour by re-imagining Clint Eastwood's revenge western as a samurai film. Set in the same era as Clint's classic, but in a chaotic post-Shogunate Japan rather than the Wild West, the film centres on Jubei the Killer (Ken Watanabe), a famed ex-samurai who has turned his hand to farming. Times are tough, though, and he has two children to feed. So, when he's offered reward money for hunting down the men who disfigured a prostitute (Shiori Kutsuna), he reluctantly takes the job. The storyline transfers so comfortably from west to east that Sang-il gets away with an almost scene-for-scene reconstruction of the original. What fascinates is the culture shift to a Japan where swords and samurais are becoming things of the past. It's a curiosity, perhaps, but it's nicely made, beautifully acted and well worth seeking out.


A warrior who fought for a defeated dynasty in 19th-century Japan turns his back on violence to lead a simple life raising a family. However, poverty drives him to take up his sword once more in the hope of raising money to support his children, an act that leads him into a battle against corrupt representatives of the law. Historical drama inspired by Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, starring Ken Watanabe and Jun Kunimura. In Japanese.

Cast & Crew

Jubei Kamata Ken Watanabe
Ichizo Oishi Koichi Sato
Kingo Baba Akira Emoto
Goro Sawada Yuya Yagira
Sanosuke Yukiyoshi Ozawa
Natsume Shiori Kutsuna
Director Lee Sang-il
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Other Information

Language: Japanese +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Warner BrosGuidance: Violence.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 28 Feb 2014