by Chris MaGee
Earlier this week I was working on our monthly top ten list which counted down the top ten Japanese actors and actresses who've had the greatest foreign crossover success. Or course the poster boy for Japanese cinema, the great Toshiro Mifune, was on the list (at #4 actually) and while researching my write up on him I discovered this totally awesome clip from Terence Young's film "Red Sun". A wild west/ action film starring Charles Bronson, Alain Delon, Ursula Andress... and Toshiro Mifune?! That's right. Released in 1971 tells the story of a train robbery in 1870's Arizona during which a priceless samurai sword is stolen from the visiting Japanese ambassador (I'm not making this up) is stolen. It's the job of the ambassador's bodyguard, played by the then 50-year-old Mifune, to retrieve the sword from the two men who orchestrated the robbery (Bronson and Delon).
I don't think Japanese ambassadors visited the U.S. at all only two years after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, let alone Arizona, but... Pppfttt.... who cares? In his clip Mifune takes on legendary Hollywood tough guy Bronson in a little mano o mano face off... and guess who wins?