Every movie writer worth their salt has already reiterated the close relationship between the samurai films of Japan and the westerns of America, so I won’t bore you with all that stuff right now. Not when there are pretty pictures to look at! Suffice to say that the two genres have influenced one another greatly over the years, going back as far as the 1950’s. There have been many American remakes of samurai movies (most famously, Seven Samurai became The Magnificent Seven), but now the opposite is happening, with Korean-Japanese director Lee Sang-il directing a Japanese remake of Unforgiven.
Unforgiven is Clint Eastwood’s 1992 Oscar-winning tale of a retired gunfighter who returns to the trade for One Last Job (TM), and finds himself facing his own decrepitude and the ending of the Old West. In this film, Ken Watanabe takes over Eastwood’s role, now playing an aged samurai, and the setting is 1880’s Japan. Like America, Japan was also facing the consequences of rapid modernization and industrialization during this time, and some of the old roles of society, like the cowboy and the samurai, were becoming obsolete.
Despite my automatic apprehension towards remakes, I can’t help but be interested in this project. These photos do a lot to help me feel good about it. Check out the images, which come courtesy of Twitch, below.