Fantastic Fest Classic: THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI
When we think of samurai cinema many of us only know the (admittedly) brilliant films of Akira Kurosawa, but if we only examine these high-art films, we are missing out on the vitality of the genre as a whole. It’s a little like judging all westerns by BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. One director who made superior mainstream, commercially viable chanbara (swordplay) films was Hideo Gosha. Recently Japanese director Takeshi Miike has sung his praises and identified him as a great influence on his own work. THREE OUTLAW SAMURAI was Gosha’s first film as a director and it has the vulgar energy of exploitation film although it is exceptionally well made. It’s a hugely action-packed story of the collision of three Samurai in a small town wracked by social division. There are phenomenal action sequences as the conflicts reach their resolution in the only way possible, with slashing steel and flowing blood.