Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yohimbo. B

This is Akira Kurosawa's second film that was remade into a Western-the kind that people today are accustomed to. There's Seven Samurai, which led to The Magnificent Seven, and then Yohimbo, which inspired A Fistful of Dollars. That film's source is a nice adventure, but I feel the main praise I can give it is not for its individual merits, but rather the cinema it inspired. It led to the rise in popularity of the Spaghetti Western, and more importantly, raised the status of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood. Still, it's not like I look at A Fistful of Dollars as a masterpiece. And the fact that it's very similar to Yohimbo doesn't speak well for Kurosawa's film. It's an overrated, plot-driven tale that's fun in the moment, but hardly abiding in its impact. I don't intend to deride the movie because in truth I had fun with it. But a great movie? Really? Yohimbo is nothing more than a movie with a clever plot executed competently by Kurosawa. The samurai comes, engages in the conflict, has a good laugh, gets beaten up, finds revenge, and walks away. Kurosawa succeeds in entertaining us, but fails to fully engage the intellect. Or he simply doesn't try.

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