By coincidence last night, I watched two movies more or less based on the Seven Samurai.
The first was an English movie called Ironclad. I thought it was going to be a thud and blunder movie, but it actually turned out to be a fairly historically accurate story of the Siege of Rochester castle, by King John (of Magna Carta -- apparently, he didn't accept history's verdict.)
It was a cross between the Alamo and the Seven Samurai.
Where it varied from history was in the scope of the thing. They have 20 knights and soldiers holding off an army of 1000. Whereas the real battle was between about 140 knights and many more soldiers as defenders.
You kind of wonder why, if they are going to be 70% accurate, why not be 100% accurate? I don't think it was just a matter of having the hero ride off into the sunset with the damsel. I think it probably had more to due with budget constraints.
I wonder if the book, The Religion, (Siege of Malta) could ever be made affordably, and without offending Islam. That would be a great story.
Then I tried the movie The 13 Assassins.
What an awesomely cool movie. I mean, it's great. For god's sake, if you like action movies, you got to see it.
Apparently it's based on another movie with the same title, but -- really, it's more a remake of the Seven Samurai.
It had some creepy, atmospheric set-up, as befits the director of Audition, Miike, but when it gets to the action scenes -- it's incredible.
I loved the ending, when the last surviving samurai moves to throw away his sword, and at the last second hangs onto it. And the 13th assassin (who isn't samurai and proud of it) skips merrily down the street like a forest sprite, jumping over piles of bodies. Amazing.
How could I have not seen this movie yet?
1 week ago