Westworld: Seven Samurai films to watch as we prepare for Shogun World


In preparation for Westworld’s introduction of Shogun World, here are some stellar movies featuring samurai and feudal Japan. Plus, take a peek at Batman Ninja.

Since HBO’s Westworld commenced, we have been eagerly awaiting the introduction of new theme parks beyond the wild west. In Michael Crichton’s 1973 film starring Yul Brynner, featured the alternate historical theme parks of MedievalWorld and RomanWorld. While HBO has said there are no plans for knights and togas in the upcoming series, we are super excited to see the season 2 trailer and learn of the introduction of Shogun World.

Shogun was the name given to military leaders who took power from the emperor of Japan in 1185. For the next 700 years, different armies controlled different areas of the country, resulting in feudalism. The samurai were military nobility who served the ruling lords. Born from the samurai were Japanese martial arts, strategies, and tactics of combat. Samurai who were not aligned to a particular master were known as ronin.

Here are our favorite samurai movies. Just be warned, there is blood and gore ahead. Plus take a peek at an upcoming movie that is sure to satisfy anime and DC superhero fans.

Seven Samurai (1954)

A small farming village in 1586 is under attack from a ruthless group of bandits who want to steal their crops. The villagers hire seven ronin to take down the bad guys. Written and directed by the highly acclaimed Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai is not only one of the greatest samurai films ever made, it is one of the greatest films ever made. In 1960, The Magnificent Seven swapped Japan for Mexico, and swords for guns, in the epic western remake of this Kurosawa classic.

Throne of Blood (1957)

Next on the list is another Akira Kurosawa film, which retells Macbeth in feudal Japan. A high ranking samurai is manipulated by his wife to assassinate the lord of the castle of Spider’s Web Forest. This is a fascinating reinvention of Shakespeare’s tale of fulfilling a prophecy and the extremes of political ambition.

Lady Snowblood (1973)

Before Uma Thurman wielded her sword as The Bride in Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Volume 2, there was Meiko Kaji, playing Yuki Kashima, aka Lady Snowblood. This Toshiba Fujita film is set at the end of the 1800s when feudal Japan was crumbling. Yuki is on a personal and bloody mission of vengeance to kill the violent men who destroyed her family. Here’s hoping the hosts in Westworld pull out a few cool Lady Snowblood moves.

The Last Samurai (2003)

This epic starring Tom Cruise is all about an outsider being drawn into a new world. Cruise plays an American military advisor captured by the very forces his own army was seeking to destroy and westernize. Akin to Cruise’s character, viewers can also learn of this enchanting and stoic era of Japanese culture, customs, and history. We will wait and see if the tourists in Westworld’s Shogun World’ can be so embracing of the samurai ways.

13 Assassins (2010)

Set in 1844, this Takashi Miike movie is a remake of Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 film of the same name. A group of 13 samurai assemble and plan for a mission to assassinate a sadistic feudal lord. They are on an action-packed suicide mission as they make their way through a booby-trapped town and face an overwhelming force of enemy combatants. Be ready to enjoy a bloody long battle scene in this big budget action film.

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Ok, the main samurai warrior in this film has been transformed into a beetle, and he’s voiced by an American, Matthew McConaughey. Don’t let that put you off. This captivating animated film is a real treat that captivates adults even more than the little ones. Kubo is a young boy on a quest to find his late father’s magical suit of armor. Then, he must defeat the Moon King, a wicked spirit who stole Kubo’s eye in infancy.

Batman Ninja (2018)

Another animated samurai film will be coming to our screens soon. Batman Ninja will see The Dark Knight and his DC foes transported in a time machine back to feudal Japan. Batman Ninja is set for digital release in the US on April 24.

Related Story: 5 Western TV shows to watch if you love Westworld

It looks like Batman is gadget-less and has to fight old-school ninja style… just like the samurai.

Westworld season 2 premieres on April 22 on HBO.