Director: Hideo Gosha
Writers: Hideo Gosha, Kei Tasaka
Stars: Bin Amatsu, Keiko Awaji and Takuya Fujioka
What they say: After losing both an eye and an arm to treachery while on a mission for his clan, Samanosuke (Kinnosuke NAKAMURA) becomes a ronin who calls himself TANGE Sazen. When a stolen urn that contains the secret to a treasure worth a million gold coins falls into his one remaining hand, all sorts of villains, including a high-ranking Shogunate minister, plot to relieve him of his burden — and his life.
Unfortunately for them, TANGE has developed a unique and deadly one-handed fighting style, which means his enemies will have their hands full — at least while they still have their heads!
TANGE Sazen is one of Japan’s most popular samurai characters, the equivalent of Zorro or The Lone Ranger in the west.
What I say: Here of late I have been watching quite a bit of Asian cinema, and the stuff I have enjoyed the most is the samurai films. Secret of the Urn is without a doubt one of the best ones I have seen. This tale, featuring a framed samurai that lost an eye and an arm for his loyalty. He becomes a ronin. Years later he becomes involved in a case involving a stolen urn wanted by several parties, including the clan that wronged him. Ronin Sazen sees this as an opportunity to take revenge and have some fun with the other parties at the same time. He takes over a group of criminals and begins his plan.
Tange Sazen is a great character, and he played to perfection by Kinnosuke Nakamura. He is obviously having a blast playing this role, and it shows on the screen. The film looks great, sounds great, and is a a true joy to experience. The various twists and turns of the story are well played. Other than a couple of very short blurry sections, the transfer is gorgeous. Colors really pop.