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Three Outlaw Samurai [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese LPCM 1.0  (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 93 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 14, 2012
  • List Price: $29.95

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Criterion Collection: Three Outlaw Samurai - Widescreen

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

The first film by legendary Japanese director Hideo Gosha (Sword of the Beast), Three Outlaw Samurai is a classic of the “chambara” or sword-fighting genre. A prequel, or origin story for the Japanese television series of the same name, the film is a refined and tightly woven story highlighting the samurai ideals of honor, friendship, and loyalty more than it is an outright action drama.

The story is of a ronin (masterless samurai) named Shiba (Tetsurô Tanba) who stumbles into a clash between a despotic magistrate and a group of local peasants who kidnap his daughter in order to demand better treatment. When two other samurai (Isamu Nagato and Mikiro Hira) join the fight on the side of the peasant farmers, it becomes an intense and action-filled effort on the part of the magistrate to keep the demands of the put-upon workers from reaching the local Lord, whose visit is quickly approaching.

Three Outlaw Samurai holds the viewer’s attention easily from beginning to end with adventurous sword play, strong plot development and interesting cinematography. It’s not an epic like a Kurosawa film, but for this sort of material, it is one of the better ones.

(For a different take read Three Outlaw Samurai [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review by Brendan Surpless)

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The 2.35:1 framed AVC encoded transfer of Three Outlaw Samurai looks rather strong in this Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition. Source damage is hardly an issue and there is a pleasant, organic looking film structure that is thinly layered throughout the presentation. The black and white imagery has a good convergence of shades with strong contrast, solid whites and inky blacks.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The original monaural soundtrack is offered up in a clean LPCM 1.0 (48kHz/24-bit) mix with clear dialogue and very little noise of any kind.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

This is one of the weaker Criterion efforts when it comes to extras, providing only the original Theatrical Trailer and a rather thin booklet.

The supplements:

  • Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24)
  • Booklet: Featuring an essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri, film credits, and information on the transfer.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

An enjoyable samurai film with rock solid performances all around, Three Outlaw Samurai arrives in a reference quality Criterion Collection Blu-ray release that is thin on extras, but still worth owning for fans of this genre.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00687XNQM[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com
Criterion Collection: Three Outlaw Samurai - Widescreen

Purchase Three Outlaw Samurai on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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