Movie Thirty Six
Three Outlaw Samurai is, in many ways, like other samurai films from Japan. There is a heavy price for honor and doing right and the lead samurai are all expertly skilled and incredibly smart.
While Western cowboy movies tend to lift the story lines from a samurai movie (Fistful of Dollars is Yojimbo, Magnificent Seven is Seven Samurai) I do not believe Three Outlaw Samurai has ever been emulated exactly, but the core pieces of it are familiar.
A group of peasants kidnap a magistrate’s daughter in the hopes getting fair treatment. A wandering samurai (ronin) finds the peasants and decides to help them. The magistrate is none too pleased about the kidnapping and sends men to kill the villagers. Among them are two other samurai. All three samurai have different goals, but eventually they unite to right the wrongs of the corrupt magistrate.
The movie is quite enjoyable and I had fun imagining what a spaghetti Western version of it would be like and how would play the samurai and the magistrate. While this is a Criterion release, it is short on the usual abundance of special features but comes at a lower than usual price as well. The rest of the package for Three Outlaw Samurai is great, and the film looks wonderful and crisp, however.
I give it 4 kidnapping peasants out of 5.