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Shoguns Samurai

Shogun's SamuraiSibling rivalry takes a violent turn
  in Shogun
s Samurai, the dramatic,
  all-action tale of loyalty, betrayal, envy
  and tragedy in 17th Century Japan

IN THE IMPERIAL JAPAN OF 1624, the current Shogun General Hidetada has died under suspicious circumstances at Yedo Castle and the government has not yet decided who should succeed him.

Hidetada's eldest son Lemestsu (Hiroki Matsukata) is considered disfigured, with a facial port-wine stain, and he stammers. As a result he was disliked by his father; whereas his handsome and much-admired younger brother Tadanaga (Teruhiko Saigo) had the backing of his father before his untimely death.

Tadanaga also seems more suited to the role of Shogun — a choice that would please not only the most powerful lords but also his mother, Oeyo. But the courtiers in Kyoto are busy scheming for their own purposes and hopes of extending the temporary peace during the long civil war are quickly fading. Furthermore, fencing coach Yagyu has arranged for his daughter and sons to break into Zojo Temple, the Shogun's sepulchre, to remove his stomach in order to carry out tests to prove the Shogun was poisoned.

At first reluctant to go against his brother, Tadanaga is led to believe that Lemestsu had had their father killed. He is persuaded to fight for his right to be Shogun and a war between the two brothers quickly erupts with Tadanaga banished to Sunpu.

Soon government officials, samurai and anyone else looking for one last fight are being recruited, including Yagyu's son Jubel and a band of displaced villagers in the Province of Yamato, led by Sagenta, who are desperate to return to their homeland. It is here that young Hayate and the lovely Mon are taking part in a ceremony to be Independent Negoro Fighters.

Yagyu will do anything to ensure Lemestsu fulfils his destiny and becomes Shogun — and he advises that whoever gets in the way should be killed, whether it is his father or even Buddha.

To complicate matters, Tadanaga has fallen in love with the beautiful dancer Okuni with whom flautist Sanza is already in love. And the powerful Lord Date from Sendal has agreed to support Tadanaga and wants to send his daughter to marry the prince.

Famous master swordsman Ogasawara Genshinsal presents himself to be Tadanaga's fencing instructor and Mon is sent by Yagyu to guard the prince. But when Sagenta and the villagers become involved with the fight, there will be a terrible revenge.

As the Emperor and his courtiers plot behind the scenes to exploit the chaos and return to power, playing one off against the other, it becomes clear that in a winner-take-all struggle for power there are no heroes and villains, only winners and losers.

And now, as the country is about to explode and run wet with blood, nobody is safe…

Starring: Hiroki Matsukata; Teruhiko Saigo; Sonny Chiba; Etsuko Shihomi; Yoshio Harada; Toshirô Mifune; Kinnosuke Nakamura; Hiroyuki Sanada; Tetsuro Tamba; Kinnosuke Yorozuya; Shinichi Chiba; Reiko OHara; Yoshio Harada; Jiro Yabuki; Hideo Murota and Kentaro Kudo. Screenplay is by Tatsuo Nogami, Hiroo Matsuda and Kinji Fukasaku. Photographed by Toru Nakajima and Music is by Toshiaki Tsushima.

Directed by veteran Japanese filmmaker, Kinji Fukasaku (Tora! Tora! Tora!, Battle Royale) and starring one of the greatest martial arts stars Sonny Chiba (Kill Bill: Volume 1, Street Fighter), Shogun's Samurai is an epic, all-out action tale of loyalty and betrayal and political intrigue, with battles and spectacular sword fights in true Japanese style.

The fully restored and digitally remastered Shogun's Samurai is set for a DVD release on 26 January (2009) courtesy of Eureka Entertainment. Catalogue No EKA40236 | Barcode: 5060000402360 | RRP: £7.99 | Certificate: 15 | Running Time: 130 Minutes | Format: Colour | Genre: World cinema/Action | Director: Kinji Fukasaku | Year: 1978 | Country: Japan.

Extras: Photo Gallery; Director's Profile & Promotional Clips.

"Sibling rivalry takes a violent turn in Shogun's Samurai, the dramatic, all-action tale of loyalty, betrayal, envy and tragedy in 17th Century Japan" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar