Get out the whetstone and the blade, kids. Two of the most extreme Japanese samurai movies ever made are headed (or beheaded) for Boulder this weekend. Kihachi Okamoto's Sword of Doom (1966) stars the brooding Tatsuya Nakadai as a sociopathic swordsman bereft of scruple, compassion or code -- a new take on earlier, honor-bound samurai epics. Samurai Rebellion (1967), starring the Japanese cinema icon Toshiro Mifune, is a slightly more intellectual piece of work, but director Masaki Kobayashi doesn't stint, either, when it comes to the gore. In the end, movie critic Roger Ebert wrote, it "explodes into a gut-clutching display of (Mifune's) swordsmanship."
The films will screen as part of the University of Colorado's International Film Series, in Muenzinger Auditorium on CU's Boulder campus. Sword of Doom shows on Saturday, March 18, at 7 and 9:30 p.m., and Samurai Rebellion runs on Sunday, March 19, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. For information, call 303-492-1531 or go to www.internationalfilmseries.com.