The great Kurosawa's first film tells the story of a young judo student and his rise to fame in the world of Japanese martial arts. He falls in love and is unfortunately ( unintentionally) responsible for the death of the father (played by the great Takashi Shimura) of the woman he loves. In part two he is established as a master of Judo disturbed by the western influences he feel are bringing bad influences to his discipline. He looks deep into his own spirituality but is forced to face an old rival from the past and a new threat from a couple of crazy karate fighting brothers. The film has deteriorated badly and the picture quality is sometimes poor but there is lots to be enjoyed and admired here. Although Kurosawa's direction often seems unsure the film is a clear indication of the greatness to come in later years and it is an ambitious debut. Although the film has a leaning towards the philosophical it quite often resembles in its storyline many of the late Hong Kong martial arts films that feature the rivalry between opposing schools and fighting style. It is an obvious must see for anybody interested in Kurosawa.
036 KING KONG LIVES ! (1986) Directed by John Guillermin **
When you are in a hole you should stop digging. After the derision rightly poured on the earlier film you wonder why they went for this silly sequel. But, I suppose, the earlier film must have made a profit. This film is at least bad funny rather than just bad and Linda Hamilton bares her boobs for about two frames (so does Queen Kong) - I must admit to being partial to Miss H (nice hair) so despite the acting and the script and the really silly one dimensional characterisations (particularly of the military) I didn't feel that buying the DVD in the HMV desperation sale was unjustified. Actually I also bought the earlier film to complete my KING KONG collection...I have no shame.
|King Kong Lives!|