Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: Zoku Sugata Sanshiro
Japan, 1945. Toho Company. Screenplay by Akira Kurosawa, based on the novel by Tsuneo Tomita. Cinematography by Takeo Ito. Produced by Motohiko Ito. Music by Seeichi Suzuki. Production Design by Kazuo Kubo. Film Editing by Akira Kurosawa.
The studio was so impressed by the success of Kurosawa’s first feature about the martial arts master that it commissioned a sequel. This less successful second installment has the titled hero fight two American bullies (the film was made at the end of the war) before turning his gaze closer to home. His opponent from the first film is now a broken man, humble and defeated (though still dressing like a villain in a Sherlock Holmes mystery), and his two brothers are ashamed of him. To avenge their fallen sibling, the brothers vow to take Sugata out, and it isn’t long before they are fighting a marvelously choreographed duel on a snowy mountain. It’s choppy and obscure, but the camera work is fantastic and it is never boring.