Mikogami Trilogy I: The Trail of Blood (1972)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by BLUEPLANET, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. BLUEPLANET

    BLUEPLANET Guest

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    Mikogami Trilogy I: The Trail of Blood (1972)
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    SUMMARY
    Can a sinful man change and find peace? It's unlikely in gang-plagued Japan. Jokichi of Mikogami, a drifter (and hired sword), goes straight after protecting a woman in distress: they marry, have a son, and Jokichi pursues his father's craft. After three years, the gangs he embarrassed when he saved his wife find the family and leave Jokichi in grief, vowing revenge.
    jhailey on IMDb

    NOTES
    I was in the hunt for a new chambara series after I've had seen Bohachi Bushido and re-watched the English-subtitled Shinobi no Mono films. While browsing AnimEigo's catalog I found this trilogy and it seemed to fill my criteria.

    Stylistically the Mikogami Trilogy stands somewhere between the Lone Wolf & Cub series and Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. Jokichi resembles The Ronin Without a Name character quite a bit. The blood-splatters aren't as gratuitous as they are in LW&C. The story isn't as tightly scripted as it is in Yojimbo. However the sword fights are well-shot and choreographed. Jokichi uses a very different fighting style than most chambara heroes - mainly because of his handicap. This makes the action scenes, which are aplenty, interesting and exciting to watch. Also Jokichi is not a pure killing machine; often he makes mistakes or needs a helping hand.

    The typical revenge storyline that this trilogy relies on wouldn't work on its own, but when it comes with this amount of ruthlessness and a few great characters, it becomes a joy of watch. Our hero is beaten, tortured and humiliated. His family is killed, and yet - like many of his better known chambara heroes - he still has that certain degree of humanity left. He's not a demon hellbent on revenge, but a man with his weaknesses who's craving to slay the yakuza bosses who killed his family.

    What sets the film apart from the other chambara films of the era is the ruthlessness that I mentioned before. For example, the scene where Jokichi is tortured and mutilated is truly graphic and nasty. There are no comic reliefs in this film. It's a pure revenge story.

    The film does have a decent amount of pulp elements (including a funky score). Yet it is surprisingly old-fashioned at the core. Its charm is built mostly on good-old sword fights, interesting characters and seemingly high production values.

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    Code:
    http://extabit.com/file/28dvm7x8c52mh/Trai...ood.1972-KG.avi
    http://extabit.com/file/28dvm7x8c5c49/Trai...ood.1972-KG.srt
    http://extabit.com/file/28dvm7x8c5c3t/Subs.rar
     

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