A nameless ronin, or samurai with no master, enters a small village in feudal Japan where two rival businessmen are struggling for control of the local gambling trade. Taking the name Sanjuro Kuwabatake, the ronin convinces both silk merchant Tazaemon and sake merchant Tokuemon to hire him as a personal bodyguard, then artfully sets in motion a full-scale gang war between the two ambitious and unscrupulous men.
I haven't found a thread on this yet soo here goes. I must admit I've only seen the last 50 min. of this, but I saw enough to like it, and want to own it. Everything I've seen of the movie kicks but...
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The film's most notable villain does change things up by having his own revolver (which did inspire an unexpected homage in 1979 gang flick The Warriors), the gangs' one attempt at open warfare results in a comical stalemate being watched by an amused Mifune, the gangs actually turn out to be stunningly incompetent in some areas (such as one woman advising her gang leader husband to murder Mifune after their rival gang has been eliminated while Mifune is in earshot), and so on.
Rather than simply being the lone samurai who gets hired by the good guys to shuffle the bad guys outta town, Sanjuro wanders into town, sees a feudal stalemate between two factions and decides, "I can make money off of this".