A Revengeful Raid (1962)
Directed by Masahiro Makino

A Revengeful Raid
Jirocho to Kotengu Nagurikomi Koshuji
Starring Kinya Kitaoji (Eijiro), Kinnosuke Nakamura (Jirocho), Isao Yamagata, Fumiyo Fujimoto, Michitaro Mizushima, Tetsuko Kobayashi, Kenji Susukida

Toei Company, 86 minutes
Color, 2.35:1 scope ratio
English-subtitled DVD: Kurotokagi Gumi, Samurai DVD (TV broadcast quality)

Remakes are a hugely prevalent matter in the annals of jidai-geki. Even aside from the stock tales like the 47 Ronin or the Shinsengumi that are told over and over, lots of times directors would revisit their own particular movies again and again. Masahiro Makino is especially guilty in this regard, retreading his Jirocho Sangokushi series and other works ad infinitum.

A Revengeful Raid is a good example of this tendency, or maybe I should say a horrible example. It's a remake of Fighting Disposition, Makino's film from just four years eariler, and its existence completely serves no purpose. Fighting Disposition is a fairly entertaining and spirited movie, while the rehash is bland and flat, despite having the same script and some talented performers. Kinya Kitaoji, the son of Utaemon Ichikawa starring in one of his first roles, comes across as an amateur not yet ready to step into the shoes of Hashizo Okawa. And the great Kinnosuke Nakamura is badly miscast and squandered as Jirocho. Both actors are just too young and too handsome to play their roles convincingly, and everyone involved seems to be going through their paces to collect a paycheck. Even the opening score sucks.

I have to wonder if this turkey was made to fulfill some sort of contractual obligation. Maybe the studio had a deadline to meet, and Makino just randomly grabbed something out of his desk drawer to re-shoot. Imagine my disappointment when I thought I had found a new Jirocho movie to enjoy and wound up with this bad case of deja vu. If you have the choice, go for Fighting Disposition and pass on this one.

The Jidai-Geki Knights
Cinema