15 September 2007

So, tonight, accompanied with the creature comforts of a spicy pepper/broccoli stirfry with rice noodles and Momokawa sake (nihonshu), I watched Sanjuro (not to be confused with Sanjaya, the talentless South Asian androgyne), Akira Kurosawa's sequel to Yojimbo, the film that inspired Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars.

Basically this has led me to post a comparison of the two consummate bad___es of both films.
First, Clint Eastwood:


Clint, after finally sitting down and seeing the Hallowed Triumvirate of the Wopsterns (A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), is admittedly the consummate bad___. And to all who I've just offended by inventing the term "wopstern", I'll just say that I googled the word "wopstern" just now and received no hits, so I feel rather proud of my inventive conjunction of an ethnic slur and movie category. But anyway, Clint is the man. I felt the need to go out and get a poncho, but I have thus far resisted. It certainly made a nice cover garment for CCW.

But anyway, on to his original counterpart, Toshiro Mifune:


Toshiro Mifune, star of practically every Akira Kurosawa film, or at least very many of them, is the lead in both Yojimbo and Sanjuro and does an exceptionally good job portraying the original "Man With No Name". I give him special credit for the fact that my introduction to him was as the interminably annoying young Kikuchiyo in Seven Samurai. I honestly could not have pictured him as a collected, potent, and wise samurai after that performance, but Yojimbo quickly changed that preconception.

Anyway, if Clint fought Toshiro, I'd still have my money on Clint. We know that Toshiro beats the pistol-wielding Unosuke in Yojimbo, but bear in mind that Unosuke with a pistol is the equivalent of me with a paintbrush...Clint's character is a regular Leonardo. Once again, the technical superiority of the West wins out.

But that said, the points for style and originality go to Kurosawa's films and Mifune's character. You can't help liking both, though. I now find the need to put both Kurosawa's and Leone's "No Name" films on my short list to acquire.

Random Reference Time!

As I believe I mentioned earlier, saw Mr. Bean's Holiday and rather liked it! This following scene was particularly good (the latter opera-based portion of the clip). I thought it was worth passing on. Something about Rowan Atkinson's acting makes me think he could bring someone to tears from the opera stage if only he didn't look like, well, him, and if only he could sing like that. Very, very funny. To me at least, but I'm one to see humour in bally everything.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=yx1F41IdQXM

2 comments:

J B Paul said...

I agree. Clint is the man. Even today, at the age of 77, he could still whip any of these young punks (i.e. Brad Pitt, Matt Damon). If Clint stepped up to me in the parking lot of midtown and ask me if I felt lucky, I'd have to say, "Heck No I don't feel lucky." (I know it is a Dirty Harry reference, but the only difference between Dirty Harry and the Man with No Name is the name, the date, and the bad guy)

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Indeed. "No sir, looks like my luck has run out, sir!"

Matt Damon is an interesting comparison...watched the first Bourne movie last night (never seen any of them before) and what a contrast. He's the consummate 90s action hero, sensitive, confused, and more inclined to use a ball-point pen as a ninja weapon than a semi-automatic handgun.

I do give the movie credit in one area though. In one of the final scenes where the Al Gore lookalike walks outside to be assassinated by his boss's people, they use a silenced pistol, and they didn't use the typical whisper sound used for silenced weapons. A silencer doesn't so much silence the sound as modify it...it is still loud, but not necessarily recognizable as a gunshot. The action of the slide actually makes a lot of noise, typically, which was audible in the movie.

Anyway, not a bad film. But Eastwood and Mifune had much better filmmakers at the helm (Leone and Kurosawa, respectively). There was more style, I suppose you could say, in their creations.