Last Remake You Can Stand
Walter Hill tries his hand at Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (itself based on Hammett’s Red Harvest), with Bruce Willis playing a prohibition era American samurai.
In the original, Toshiro Mifune was a skilled warrior, but the focus of the film was on how he manipulates rival gangs in a desolate town to fight each other while profiting from both sides. Here, Hill bows to modern tastes, and we find Willis blasting away in one John Woo-inspired gun battle after another. Also, he shows more heart than Mifune (and Clint Eastwood in Leone’s Western version) – not necessarily an improvement.
Still, it’s hard to be harsh with such great story material at hand, and this tale is likely to be remade many times. Also helping matters is the fact that Bruce Dern, William “Larry” Sanderson, David Patrick Kelly, and Christopher Walken are given unexpectedly rich supporting roles.