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With: Sonny Chiba, Hiroko Yakushimaru, Hiroyuki Sanada, Mari Natsuki, Etsuko Shihomi, Noriko Watanabe, Akira Nakao, Isao Natsuki, Tsunehiko Watase, etc.
Written by: Kinji Fukasaku, Toshio Kamata, Ei Ogawa, Toshio Kamata, etc.
Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku, Mitsumasa Saito
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Running Time: 375
Date: 03/18/2013

The Samurai Collection (2006)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Samurai Bored

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Distributed by BCI Eclipse, this three-disc box set is a bittersweet item. It contains three vintage samurai films, all featuring Sonny Chiba (The Streetfighter, Kill Bill) and all gorgeously remastered with new subtitles. But the rub is that the films themselves are duds. I was looking forward to seeing Kinji Fukasaku's Legend of the Eight Samurai (1984), but it turned out to be a cartoonish, annoyingly over-the-top slapstick fest, full of wild gesticulating and with no sense of pace. I also tried G.I. Samurai (1979), also known as Time Slip, in which a group of Japanese soldiers are suddenly transported back to the ages of the samurai. They use their modern warfare equipment to help win a battle, with no concern whatsoever for time paradoxes. It's also a disappointment, full of soulless battle sequences and no spark. I didn't even bother with the third, Ninja Wars (1982) a.k.a. Black Magic Wars (1982), though I'm told that Chiba barely appears in it. BCI's previous Chiba collection, the Sonny China Action Pack, is far more interesting.

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