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Akô-jô Danzetsu (1978)

Adventure | 159 minutes
3,41 11 votes

Genre: Adventure / Action

Duration: 159 minuten

Alternative titles: Swords of Vengeance / The Fall of Ako Castle / Last of the Ako Clan / 赤穂城断絶

Country: Japan

Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku

Stars: Shin'ichi Chiba, Kinnosuke Nakamura and Tsunehiko Watase

IMDb score: 7,2 (607)

Releasedate: 28 October 1978


Akô-jô Danzetsu plot

When Asano, the young leader of Ako Castle, harasss King Kira, he must leave his clan and commit haka-kiri. With the help of the Ako fighters, he makes a plan for revenge, which leads to an explosive fight.

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  • 9113 messages
  • 4206 votes

Tough movie. Especially the long playing time plays against the experience in my opinion. However, this film is a faithful historical reconstruction of a very famous event from the years 1701-1703, also known as the tragedy of the 47 ronin. Everyone in Japan knows this story and there is even a holiday, December 14, that commemorates this event.

In a fit of rage, a humiliated samurai, Asano, attacks a high-ranking official, Kira, within the walls of the palace. The punishment is unrelenting: Asano has to commit hara-kiri and his family is dishonorably removed from their administrative positions. It could end there, but Asano's right-hand man, called Oishi, is shocked by the unusually harsh sanctions, swears revenge and manages to gather a lot of ronin (= masterless samurais) around him. Their plan is to kill Kira after all.

There are a lot of characters and I often had a hard time telling them apart. It comes down to assigning them to one of the two camps. A lot of time is spent on the arguments that will lead to the attack, often ending in long scenes of endless talking. Sonny Chiba and Toshiro Mifune in a film, that created high expectations, but unfortunately both can be seen in small roles and contribute little to this film. For an action or war film you should not be with this film. Are historical dramas your thing or are you a lover of Japanese history then this is for you.

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