CRITERION has released "SANJURO," on blu-ray. "SAJURO" marks the rare "sequel" that Kurosawa agreed to make. Toshiro Mifune is also back in his role as Sanjuro, albeit, with a different last name. Kurosawa has crafted the film with a very different atmosphere to "YOJIMBO." While there's plenty of sword-fighting and some humor, "SANJURO" feels more matter-of-fact in tone, and the various killings are all part of a retribution for what's already been done. While "YOJIMBO" has been remade in various American films, "SANJURO" is the one that Eastwood seems to have been more influenced by. The main character has his flaws, but does what he feels is right, and the audience sides with him, regardless of whom he is taking on, sometimes with a fervor. Kurosawa, again, enjoys using subtext, and there's a fair share of that here, and it's intelligently handled, never feeling heavy-handed.
Visually, while different than "YOJIMBO," it's just as stunning. Masaru Sato's score does for "SANJURO" and its atmosphere, what Morricone did for Eastwood's westerns. "SANJURO" is a classic!
CRITERION has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this AVC MPEG-4 encoded 1080p blu-ray. The black&white imagery is flawlessly presented, aided by impressive contrast. Detail will also impress the most distinguishing observer. It's amazing and demonstrates just how impressive a black&white image can be when handled correctly on blu-ray. None of the noise noticeable on previous dvd versions, appears here.
CRITERION has provided a Japanese DTS-HD MA 3.0 mix and LPCM 1.0 mix. While purists will prefer the LPCM mix, The reencoded 3.0 mix offers a surprisingly engaging experience, without every feeling manufactured. Separation, while limited, feels natural. It's a great mix!
CRITERION has added some fine extras with this release. A documentary, over 30 minutes long, "AKIRA KUROSAWA: IT IS WONDERFUL TO CREATE," explores the making of "SANJURO." 1080i.
An audio commentary with film expert, Stephen Price, may feel a bit too stodgy for some, but aspiring film scholars and fans of the great director, will appreciate the insight offered.
Stills, a teaser and theatrical trailer, are also included, along with a great illustrated booklet.