In advance: Sorry about the color isn't the default one, but I wrote this in word and copied it over...Can't find the default color.


Sugata Sanshiro
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Written by Akira Kurosawa and Tsuneo Tomita
Released March 25, 1943

DVD released by someone called ď Bo[something in Chinese letters]YingĒ, and I do not recommend it very much. Oh, the subtitles are ok, Iíve seen worse. ( a lot worseÖ), but my main problem with the translation is that they never translate judo or jujutsu as judo or jujutsu. They called it karate and kung-fu. And they switched randomly. One moment theyíre talking about jujutsu and judo, calling both karate, then they start talking about how the police are going to learn kung-fu ( when I think they meant judo). Oh, and they never call Sugata Sanshiro by his name, they call him Chee or Saam or something.


Well, Iím sick, and what better way to spend my time when Iím sick than a movie? What kind of a movie? A martial art movie. I pondered which one, and then I remembered a link posted by Steve, http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=59525&highlight=segata+sanshiro
Yeah, Segata Sanshiro, so I decided to watch the movie that inspired him, ďSugata Sanshiro. ď


Plot in short:
A young man, Sugata Sanshiro, travels to town to learn jujutsu. His new master and his students are talking about some judoka that they have challenged, and about 5-7 of them travel there with swords and fight the judoka. The judoka beats them all, and then Sugata finds a new instructor.


Later we see Sugata in town. He picks a fight with a dude, he throws everyone around him, and then tries to throw a sumo wrestler. Later Sugata returns to his sensei, and they discuss Sugata. Sugata then throws himself into the pool in the garden to show his instructor how sincere he is about learning judo. One thing then leads to another, and Sugata has to fight several other.


The fights :
There werenít as many fights as youíd expect from a movie with a martial artist as a protagonist. Iíll only talk about two, since they were the only interesting ones.


First fight: Sugataís master vs jujutsu guys:
Most of the fights end after one throw, which is realistic, seeing as how he throws them all into the sea. Yeah, they fight on the docks. First throw is a shoulder throw, second is a wristgrab + throw, then something interesting happens. He gets attacked by one guy sneaking up behind him and another attacking with a katana and a third guy of camera charging at him at the same time. The way he throws the guy with the katana isnít too unrealistic, though unrealistic nonetheless. The guy sneaking up on the master was now in the way of a possible sideways swing...

Now something interesting happens. The judoka faces one of the best trained of the jujutsu guys and then he does a sacrifice throw or whatever itís called. He falls to the ground and throws the dude over him. The last dude instantly charges at him andÖGoes into his guard, they then roll until the judoka manages to use a lock on the other dude. Grappling in a 1943 movieÖ.Sweet.

Second:
Sugata picks a fight with a guy in the streets. He throws the guy over his shoulder and a crowd of about 40 people shout things at him. He gets pissed and charges at them, andÖthey run. Only three or four of the people try to fight him. The rest either run away or get thrown. Sugata easily throws away those few who try to fight him, he then sees an arm and runs at it, trying to throw the dude, but heís a sumo wrestler. The sumo wrestler and Sugata grab each otherís shirt and start walking in a circle. Then the movie wipes! Yeah, the one fight that could have been interesting, and they donít even show it.

The rest of the fights I wonít describe because they end with one throw on Sugataís part. ( Which I find is both good and bad. Good, because itís a little realistic. I didnít feel like walking after being thrown by a judoka, and bad because it doesnít make the fights that interesting).


Conclusion:
My main complaint about the movie is the light. The movie is in black and white, and most of the fights happen by night. Yeah, good luck trying to see whatís going on. Itís easier finding sense in an article by Ashida Kim.

The story is hard to follow, because I am a stooooopid gaijin who has to rely on subtitles. I bet that this movie makes sense to someone who understands japanese. But to me, it just didnít.

The fight scenes areÖOk. Not as bad as TMNT 3, but in a sense itís worse than Bloodsport ( but in another sense it isnítÖ I liked the protagonist not being superhuman. Though he does throw one opponent over FIVE freaking meters. How awesome is that?). There are some exciting moments, but the throws are over 50% of the time cut so that we seldom see people thrown directly onto the ground. But I say give them a break, itís 1943, seeing as how early it was made, itís amazing they had the little they did.

This isnít a martial arts movie. I thought that a movie with a judoka as the protagonist would be a martial arts movie, but it isnít. Itís a drama film, where the protagonist has to fight now and again. Sugata could easily have been a banker, and instead of fights heíd have to discuss angrily with his higher ups or something.

Would I recommend this movie?
That depends. If you speak Japanese, like Akira Kurosawa, you want a good old black and white movie and if you donít see it as a martial art film, but as a drama film, then go for it. At least it moved me more than Bichunmoo or Best of the Best. Not that thatís saying much.

If youíre that instant gratification type, who canít watch a movie without the promise of blood and/or boobs, NO.