Sazen Tange and The Secret of the Urn ★★★½

Destroying dojos, being a bodyguard, I’ve done it all.
-Tange Sazen

You'll probably never see this film on a "Best Samurai Movies" list, but it's a lot of fun. I guess you would best describe this movie as a Grindhouse Samurai Film. It's one of those movies where the main character will kill an attacker with his sword, but the man will stay on his feet and only fall dead after our anti-hero has walked off screen.

It's chalk full of pulp fun. The protagonist, Tange Sazen, is a one armed and one eyed ronin. His one armed style with the sword is actually quite fun to watch and pretty inventive in some spots. Kinnosuke Nakamura chews the scenery while playing the character and it's really the only way a character like this should be played.

The macguffin of this film is an urn, but not just any urn, it's the Earless Monkey Urn. How can you not love that? This urn holds the key to riches and the safety of a samurai clan that is in no way associated with Sazen. The urn brings together the clan, Sazen, scam artists, politicians and many others for a multitude of different reasons but it all ends up being violent.

You won't get any deep messages about bushido or Feudal Japan here, but what you do get is a fun movie with a lot of cool scenes and over the top characters.