Sword of the Beast

Director: Hideo Gosha
Year Released: 1965
Rating: 2.5

A samurai, Gennosuke (Mikijiro Hira), kills his clan's minister in order to bring about change (Commodore Matthew Perry's name is invoked) but is soon turned on by his peers and flees to the woods where he meets up with another swordsman in a similar position (who is in charge of poaching gold). Though it's a bit generic in style and full of stock characters (plus women whose existence revolves around them being either raped or kidnapped and threatened with execution), this isn't a bad Men Running Around the Forest with Katanas kind-of movie - you could easily picture Toshiro Mifune playing the disgraced Gennosuke. It's briskly-paced and efficient surface-level entertainment - hardly a masterpiece of the genre, but that isn't exactly its goal.