I was reminded the other day that not a lot of people have seen the films of Kihachi Okamoto, who was kind of a low-key second-fiddle to Kurosawa in the international samurai movie market when it exploded in the late ’60s. I actually like his samurai movies more than Kurosawa’s!
SWORD OF DOOM is probably his masterpiece work, and my second-favorite samurai movie!
KILL! is Okamoto’s SANJURO, because it is quite literally based on the same book. But I think it’s way funnier and meaner - this dude had a streak of black humor in him Kurosawa just cannot match.
Here is a bonus non-Okamoto samurai film, because it is my all-time favorite and probably maybe one of my top 5 movies ever? Anyway it’s HARAKIRI, directed by Masaki Kobayashi and starring all-timer Tatsuya Nakadai. I think it has the single best swordfight of any of these movies, both because the choreography is intense and the stakes of what’s happening are wild. This movie rules. It’s so good.