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Shinobi No Mono 3: Resurrection - arthouse and international DVD / foreign language DVD / action adventure DVD / martial arts DVD review
Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Featuring: Raiz˘ Ichikawa, Yűnosuke It˘, Shiho Fujimura, Saburo Date, Katsuhiko Kobayashi
Director: Satsuo Yamamoto   Studio: Animeigo
DVD release: 10 March 2009   Runtime: 86 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: Black and white, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Stereo - Japanese), Subtitles (English), Interactive map of 16th-century Japan, Theatrical trailers, Program notes, Image gallery

This is the third in a series of eight films that may well have established the Ninja as a fixture in action entertainment. Theatrically released in 1963, Shinobi No Mono 3: Resurrection (or Shin Shinobi No Mono, as it was known in Japan) follows the talented ninja Goemon Ishikawa (Raiz˘ Ichikawa) after his apparent death (I haven't seen the second film, but I assuming that he was sentenced to death in the previous installment). Goemon manages to live, but as is expected vows revenge for the death of his family (also in previous film). The focus of his hatred is Hideyoshi (Eijir˘ T˘no), the present ruler of Japan.

Hideyoshi's blood son is a toddler and he dotes on him (as he should), conveniently ignoring his spoiled stepson. Hideyoshi is gathering all of his provinces, compelling them to put all their money and troops into a plot to take over the nations of Ming (China) and Korea, so that his tiny son can rule them.

Goemon uses cunning, mad ninja skills and political savvy to accomplish his goals, but when it comes down to it, he decides to use other than steel to complete his tasks.

The DVD producers AnimEigo have put together a modest but helpful DVD with lots of notes on Japan in the 1500s, when Shinobi No Mono 3: Resurrection this took place. The subtitles also provide helpful notes on terminology and social norms of the time.

From seeing Shinobi No Mono 3, I am intrigued and pleasantly surprised by the thought and skill that was put into these classic ninja films. My former favorites included Enter the Ninja and its sequels; while excellent on action, their plots were flimsy things meant only to be strong enough to hold the action together. I have seen the light.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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