Kurosawa reportedly did not want to make this sequel. It shows.
This picks up where Sanshiro Sugata left off. Now an acknowledged champion, it is our hero’s turn to rescue a young rickshaw driver from an abusive American sailor. The boy becomes his own disciple. Sanshiro is then challenged to a boxing match with an American. He refuses because honor forbids him to fight for money. He goes to watch the fight though and sees the Japanese opponent defeated. Vowing to avenge Japanese martial arts, Sanshiro renounces his code in order to defeat the boxer. Sanshiro is also under fire by a couple of brothers who are challenging him to a match up between karate and Sanshiro’s judo practice. They face off in the snow. It does not take a genius to figure out who will win.
I thought Part I, Kurosawa’s directorial debut, was better than its reputation. This one, however, suffered from a weaker plot and was less visually interesting. The visual impact might have suffered from the bad quality of the print available to me.
I kept wondering where the American boxer and Caucasians in the audience for the boxing match came from and hoping they weren’t prisoners of war.
Clip – representative of print quality available on Hulu Plus