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Dora-Heita (1999)

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Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Action, Comedies, Drama, Foreign, Japan, Martial Arts, Samurai
Running Time: 111 min.
Other Features: CC

In the late-1960s, four Japanese directors -- Akira Kurosawa, Kon Ichikawa, Masaki Kobayashi and Keisuke Kinoshita -- created the Yonki-no-kai ("Four Warriors on Horseback" aka the "Four Musketeers") group, determined to produce films together. The failure of Kurosawa's DODES'KADEN ended this ambitious collaboration. Following the deaths of the other three, Ichikawa took one the group's scripts and made DORA-HEITA. Based on a story by Shugoro Yamamoto, the film follows the misadventures of a samurai sent to bring order to the Horisoto district. To aid in his efforts, he cleverly crafts an impression amongst the criminals as a drunken fool, allowing him to quietly disrupt their efforts while appearing to be harmless and inept. As played by the charismatic Koji Yakusho, the "dora-heita" (or "playboy") effectively sets the criminals against each other, leading to a startling climatic confrontation.
-- Jonathan Marlow

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