Road Rash Reviews

The Fall of Ako Castle (AKA Swords of Vengeance) [Akô-jô danzetsu] (Masters of Cinema) Special Edition Review****-

Cert 15 | 159 mins | 1978

4 Star

Revenge is Best Served Cold.

From the annals of Japanese history, comes a story of loyalty and injustice that is remembered to this day. Taking place in the first years of the eighteenth century and affecting thousands of people and families. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale, Fall Guy) who brings us all the tension and violence of the Samurai, when their master and Lord is taken from them, and there is reason for vengeance, even if it means certain death.

In the Genroku era (1701) under the dictatorship of the fifth Shogun Togugawa, a ruthless man that devastated the Lordly houses, making tens-of-thousands of Samurai lose their masters. Even with all these atrocities, no one questioned or rose up against the government.

The situation was that bad.

Meanwhile, in Edo castle Lord Asano Takumi no Kami (Teruhiko Saigô, Shogun’s Samurai, Only Yesterday) has been appointed as the representative to receive the Imperial messenger. But Lord Kira has a very low opinion of Asano and is not quiet about it either. Asano overhears Kira’s slurs, and takes umbrage at these spurious words. Being a samurai he draws his blade and attacks Kira who cowers away from the sharp blade. Unfortunately, Asano’s blade does not find its mark, and he fails to kill Kira. A tribunal is set up to investigate the altercation. Two very different stories come from both the victim and the accused. Because Asano failed to kill Kira, he has the opportunity to put all the blame on the ‘mad’ man Asano.

Asano is sentenced to seppuku, his land and property are seized by the shogunate, and the Asano name is abolished, but Kira gets no punishment, due to the fact that he didn’t draw his sword in the palace.

Kuranosuke Ohishi (Kinnosuke Nakamura, Death of a Tea Master, Fugitive Samurai) swears vengeance on Kira, and sets about finding out which of Lord Asano’s Samurai are truly loyal.

He does this by finding those that are willing to become martyrs, he finds fifty-six willing men, it is them versus the government. This is their story of having patience and finding the right moment to exact their vengeance.

The fall of Ako Castle is an in-depth look at intensity, controlled rage, custom and loyalty, all held together with amazing cinematography and fantastic costumes. A great one for the martial arts collection, plus you get to see the marvellous sword skills of Sonny Chiba (The Street Fighter Trilogy, The Executioner Collection, THE BULLET TRAIN)

THE FALL OF AKO CASTLE (AKA Swords of Vengeance) [Akô-jô danzetsu] (Masters of Cinema) Special Edition is available on Blu-ray




• Limited edition O-Card slipcase featuring new artwork by Chris Malbon

• Presented in 1080p HD from a restoration of the original film elements undertaken by Toei

• Uncompressed original Japanese mono audio

• Optional English subtitles

• New feature-length audio commentary by critic Tom Mes

• Tony Rayns on The Fall of Ako Castle – new interview with Asian film expert Tony Rayns

• King of my Castle – new video essay by author and critic Jasper Sharp

• Reversible sleeve

• PLUS: A collector’s booklet featuring a new essay on the film by Jonathan Clements and a filmography of works by Kinji Fukasaku

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DirectorKinji Fukasaku
GenreAction, Adventure, Drama
StarringToshiro Mifune, Sonny Chiba, Tetsuro Tanba, Mariko Okada
Available to buy on : Own THE FALL OF AKO CASTLE (AKA Swords of Vengeance) [Akô-jô danzetsu] (Masters of Cinema) Special Edition Blu-ray on Blu-Ray