We gave it an A-
It’s hard to consider yourself a sophisticated movie viewer when you’re watching the great Toshiro Mifune tromp around in Akira Kurosawa’s celebrated take on ”Macbeth” and thinking ”Gee, this really feels like ‘Star Wars’.” But maybe that’s a testament to the impact and longevity of the Japanese master’s vision. Deriving as much from the traditional Noh theater style as from Shakespeare, ”Blood” employs Kurosawa’s usual slate of trickery — wipes, cunning production design, inventively choreographed battle sequences. Like those in ”The Hidden Fortress,” the more direct blueprint for the Skywalker saga, such techniques have inspired the likes of George Lucas just as they were influenced by the likes of John Ford. Although the disc is short on extras, a commentary track by scholar Michael Jeck does a nice job of fleshing out the craftsmanship and back story behind each shot. Also clever are two sets of subtitles, each translated by a different Japanese linguist. Thus, for example, one line alternately reads as ”I will paint the entire forest!” and ”A deluge of blood shall stain these woods crimson.” Sounds like something Darth Vader might say.