Although Akira Kurosawa’s Sanjuro (1962) is often considered a sequel to the director’s 1961 classic Yojimbo, a safer analysis might term the two "companion pieces." There seems to be significant debate about the relationship in time between the two movies; some viewers have used context clues regarding costuming and custom to hypothesize that Sanjuro takes place in an epoch prior to the action of Yojimbo. Regardless, the good news is that Toshiro Mifune’s crafty, world-weary character in Sanjuro, here calling himself Sanjuro Tsubaki, inarguably reprises the spirit and outlook of Yojimbo’s protagonist, making for a movie as lively and entertaining as its predecessor. Mifune’s character, an itinerant samurai armed with superior smarts and swordsmanship, comes to the aid of a group of young clansmen hoping to save the skin and clear the name of their leader’s wrongly imprisoned uncle. Sanjuro encounters much stupidity on both sides, making for a movie that alternates between sly humor and well-orchestrated action before culminating in an eminently memorable ending, a visual stunner that still makes you jump 40-some years after its first screening.