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This time Kurosawa is trying to show the realistic part of battles, where it's not just a reckless and heroic charge, but one with countless back and forths, lasing, stabbing from behind, and the dreadful sound of gunfire and men helplessly falling off horses to their death.
I suspect that Ran won't overtake Seven Samurai as my favourite Kurosawa, but it certainly comes closer than any of his other films as it goes for a whole other kind of epic and succeeds admirably.
I may speak for a minority, but this would be a virtually perfect film if not for Kurosawa's obsession with redundant battle scenes--especially in the last half hour or so.