Ryoma o Kitta Otoko (1987)

Run Time - 109 min.  |   Countries - Japan   |  
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Fans of Japanese history films will be particularly interested in this samurai drama, which is set in the 19th century during the time when the forces seeking to restore the Emperor's sovereignty were gathering power. In the story, Sasaki is a master swordsman who is in the employ of the supporters of the Shogunate, and he is growing increasingly distressed at his role in killing so many worthy young men -- men who were sent to ambush and kill him. Eventually, this conflict between his sense of loyalty and his ordinary humanity sends him into a numbed state, during which he leads a group of men to assassinate the tiresome but earnest pro-Emperor advocate Ryoka, a cigarette-smoking, philosophy-spouting fellow.