The Shogun Collection
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Top Customer Reviews
The films are not all of the same genre. Of the four films, two of them (Shogun's Ninja and Shogun's Shadow) fall under the matial arts category, and are reminiscent of "Lone Wolf and Cub" and "Shadow Hunters". The other two, "Shogun's Samurai" and "Sword of Vengence" are historical dramas more in the vein of "The Seven Samurai" and "Chusingura". In fact, "Sword of Vengence" is a variation of the same story as "Chusingura", another retelling of the 47 ronin. The latter two fims are more plot driven and feature far less action. This is just fine by me, as I enjoy both types of samurai film.
Another thing you should know is that Sonny Chiba is not actually the star of any of these films. He plays a supporting role in all of them. So die hard Sonny Chiba fans may be disappointed.
All and all, this is an excellent purchase for fans of Japanese cinema, especially considering the price. Most Japanese films cost a premium (check out the price being asked for any Kurosawa or Lone Wolf and Cub film), so to get four excellent films for the price of one is a steal.
I don't know anything about the distribution company that sells this, and frankly I don't care. I can tell you that the sound and picture quality of all of these films is excellent. There are absolutely no issues there at all. There is an issue with the misleading marketing of these as "Sonny Chiba films" which I've already discussed, and for that this collection should be deducted one, maybe even two stars, but I'm going to go ahead and award it five to offset the unjustified one-star review.
Two of the movies are great historical epic Samurai films from one of Japan's all-time great directors, Kinji Fukasaku. These movies are Shogun's Samurai, and Swords of Vengeance. Expertly directed, very well written, and brought to life by some fantastic actors, both of these movies belong in every Samurai movie fan's collection.
The other two movies are cheesy (by design) 80's action flicks where Samurais and Ninjas can perform superhuman acts (leap tall buildings in a single bound type stuff). They're passable as entertainment as long as you turn your brain off (although Shogun's Shadow does have it's moments - there is the basis of a good script, it just gets overpowered by too much cheese).
The only thing that all four of the movies have in common are supporting roles for Sonny Chiba - who is particularly good in Shogun's Samurai!
The transfers for ALL FOUR of these movies are brilliant! Beautiful anamorphic widescreen, original Japanese language soundtrack with English subtitles - these are some great DVD's! BCI Eclipse has been licensing many different movies and TV series recently, and paying attention to quality. Their licensing deal here with Adness continues that trend. They've come a long way from the "Public Domain" specialists that they used to be (although they still do that as well).
In the end, this set is worth buying for the two Kinji Fukasaku films alone - you can watch the others or, as some have done, sell them on ebay.
The acting is also very good. While the battles do not contain the realism that is now achieved with special effects, they work just as well as anything Kurosawa did in his early days. Of the three, one uses the embarrassing flying leaps that eventually has come to plague good martial arts movies. But in this case it is done very, very sparingly. Therefore it does not kill the film's credibility.
'The Swords of Vengeance' is the telling of the 47 samurai, but under much more believable terms than Hollywood's embarrassing and silly remake. "Shogun's Samurai," tells the tale of the Yagyu's conspiracy to instill Iemitsu as Shogun. Not favored by the dying Shogun as his successor, the Yagyu clan concocts and pulls off a conspiracy that includes assassination and enough deceit to have made Gen. George Custer feel proud.
"Shogun's Shadow," rounds out the tale. Iemitsu is sick and dying. He spends his days in the castle being attended to by his favorite concubine, getting drunk on sake and dispensing cruel governance. Far away his eldest son is being brought to Edo under his order to attend the ceremony marking his passage from childhood to manhood and to be groomed for the Shogunate. But forces are bent on stopping this from happening.
In all, these three have been very good viewing and I recommend them for those fans of Japanese cinema, culture, and samurai legends.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
these are older well made for the time chiba was no slough he was both a mover and a shaker this set proves thatPublished 24 days ago by tim huxoll
An excellent set of movies staring Sonny Chiba in Samurai roles that properly display his skill with a sword and acting ability.Published on December 15, 2013 by Dennis Dillon
God I get tried if writing reviews, I just want to buy a product and go on with my life
It's exciting from beginning to end. The costuming and sets are brilliant, the acting makes be believe, and the violence is believable out of necessity but not unnecessarily gory. Read morePublished on April 29, 2011 by Wulfric O. Downard
This item was not what I thought I was getting, however I like it allot and happy to have it in my collection. ThanksPublished on August 20, 2010 by C. Goodwin
Of the four movies, only two directly involve the shogun, and while Sonny Chiba is in all four, he is more a supporting actor, than the lead, in all. Read morePublished on March 21, 2010 by Steven Fujita
I'm a new Chiba fan and I only want to buy box sets since it's cheaper and easier that way. I'm happy with this set even though Chiba's not the star. Read morePublished on June 25, 2007 by ZZrider