A martial arts feature inspired by the 1814 epic Japanese novel, Nanso Satomi Hakkenden. The LEGEND OF EIGHT SAMURAI depicts the story of young princess Shizuhime (Yakushimaru) living in feudal Japan, facing the threats of... more » the sinister forces of the Hikita Clan. The Hikita leader, Lady Tamazusa, wants the princess for a blood sacrifice that will sustain the evil witch?s youthful appearance. When Shizuhime is kidnapped by the clan, only the Hakkenshi, eight samurai warriors endowed with the virtues of Confucianism, can save her from certain death. Bonus Features: Sonny Chiba Bio| Scene Selection. Specs: DVD5; Dolby Digital Mono; 130 minutes; Color; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA ? NR; Year ? 1983; SRP - $9.99.« less
"Eight mysterious crystals from the body of a long dead princess now identify the eight samurai who are destined to help a beautiful young princess overcome a curse on her royal family. They are set against an evil queen who is immortal.The queen and her son live in a castle assisted by two ghouls, first, a blind witch , and second, a snake charmer, and a legion of anonymous samurai. The eight samurai (called ninja in the film due to the popularity of ninja in the 80's) have individual skills that the princess will require to defeat the queen and the demon who gives the queen her power. Borrowing greatly from Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, Sonny Chiba's character relies on the earlier portrayal of Kambai. The story focuses however on the love story between the princess and one of her samurai, a very Kikuchyo-esqe farmer turned samurai who fights like a madman in the finale.The photography is borderline excellent and especially vibrant. Swordfights are frequent and dazzling, most involve the samurai being vastly outnumbered. Choreography, although not up to modern standards, is adequate and exciting. Certain scenes are staged very well, including the brief fight in a garden with flowered trees where the wind blowing during the fight cause the petals to fall like snow. Despite frequent location changes the story seems to flow rapidly and evenly except that the revenge story comes to a halt at a few points to build the Kikuchyo like eighth samurai character who becomes the love interest. This is the only part of the film that creates empathy for any of the characters, but since the acting can be described as hammy, and the dubbed translation drops most of the emotion from the acting, this part can get tedious. Other notable flaws are poorly puppeted rubber creatures, some poorly voiced dubbing, and an intrusive 80's love song that plays during the "love story" part of the movie. Also, at one point it calls attention to an object that, because of the reduced size (TV format)isn't on screen. I normally don't mind standard screen size if it is edited properly, but this film deserves widescreen. The movie as it has been released is a 3 star, If it were redubbed, the love song removed, and released in widescreen, it may deserve a 31/2 or 4 stars."
Shantell Powell | Kitchener, ON, Canada | 12/13/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Legend of the Eight Samurai is just as bad as you'd think it should be. The plot bounces around in a most confusing fashion, but who cares about what's going on, anyway? The word Samurai is interchanged with Ninja in this story. The cast includes such characters as The Princess, Necktie Ninja, pantsless Samurai, unloved lady ninja, Elvis Samurai, The Evil Queen, the old lady who tears her own face off, and a bevy of poisonous women. Throw in tentacles and glowing blue balls, and the MST3K-style jokes happen all on their own. For ease of comprehension, all you need to remember is that the way of the Samurai is death, and expect a final deathcount of Shakespearian proportions."
Veritas Veritatis | 03/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What is not to like about this movie?
I bought it on a whim because it was in a bargain bin and it had Sonny Chiba's name on it. Boy am I glad that I did!
The sets and costumes are wonderful and the plot is great.
Oh yeah, there are great martial arts battles, too.
There is a clan of undead sorcerers, who are nasty indeed, on a vendetta and the princess they seek is their last remaining target, but she is protected by a gathering group of eight guards, identified by their possession of eight magical crystals, whose destiny it is to save the princess.
Being an admirer of illuminated manuscript, I really enjoyed the plot being explained in part by a scroll with beautiful illustrations.
This is far and away superior to most fantasy films and if you have any interest in martial arts, Japanese or fantasy cinema, you will not want to miss this one.
Fantasy Samurai film
J. Y. TRASMONTE | S.F. Bay Area | 01/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The film is not the typical samurai flick but instead it is a fantasy samurai, vampire-gore film. The legend of the eight samurai is a story about the satomi clan being cursed by evil. The evil is after the surviving satomi's clan princess to consume the princess skin so that they can enhance their beauty and offer the princess blood to their master. The princess only hope are the eight samurai who in karma each behold a magic ball crystal from the princess fukei hundred years ago. Each of the eight samurai came from adversity through either isolation, loneliness, and lose. Soon their life change when they found out that their hope and destiny lies on the princess.
The storyline is oustanding with great cast deliviring a solid performance. In addition, the special effect is great for its time. There is a quote on the back cover of the dvd that says "The Star Wars of Samurai Films" and indeed it is.
Adness provide us with high quality release of the film that made the original american version a waste of a classic film.
Grade: B+ Highly recommended!
Wonderful visuals butthe Japanese script was better
Christine | Dayton, OH | 08/12/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw this film in the original Japanese as "Satomi Hakenden." I was not disappointed in the visuals but I couldn't help cringing at the awful American "translation." They got the basic idea right but the language they chose took a powerful coming of age story and made it sound ridiculous. If you can't get the original, get this just for the visuals and play it with the sound turned down."