‘Unforgiven’ Remake Trailer: A Japanese Twist on a Classic Western

Published 1 year ago by , Updated July 15th, 2013 at 11:11 pm,

The relationship between the traditionally American-made Western and Japanese samurai epics is a fascinating one. Consider that Clint Eastwood’s breakout film role was in A Fistful of Dollars, a near shot-for-shot remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo – which was itself explicitly influenced by the John Ford Westerns of the 1940s. Eastwood would eventually go on to snag a Best Picture Oscar with his dour anti-Western Unforgiven in 1992.

Now, Ken Watanabe (Inception) is set to star in a remake of Unforgiven that moves the narrative from late-1800s Wyoming to Meiji Era Japan. The first full trailer for the film shows off the tale of a former bandit who – desperate for money to feed his struggling family – takes on the bounty for a pair of degenerates sheltering in a distant border town. Much carnage ensues.

Unforgiven Ken Watanabe ‘Unforgiven’ Remake Trailer: A Japanese Twist on a Classic Western

This first full preview – which comes after a pair of suggestive but not terribly informative teasers – displays its Western roots up front and center. Though the language may be unfamiliar to most readers and the action contains rather more swordplay than the American original, it looks as if this remake has attempted to retain its progenitor’s grimy, frontier aesthetic as thoroughly as possible. The film even retains the same ratty duster worn by Eastwood in its previous incarnation.

It will be interesting to see just how director Sang-il Lee (Villain) sets Unforgiven apart from its predecessor – other than the addition of swords to the mixture of gunplay and regret. The trailer is visually stunning, with fantastic composition, production design, and cinematography – but will all this be enough to offset a sense of familiarity? With as much talent as there is in front of and behind Unforgiven’s cameras, we genuinely hope that the film will be a worthy addition to both the samurai and Western film canons.

Unforgiven also stars Jun Kunimura (Kill Bill), Yûya Yagira (Nobody Knows), and Akira Emoto (Zatoichi).

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Unforgiven will ride into Japanese cinemas on September 13th, 2013. While there is no definite US release date, the high profile of the film all but guarantees at least a limited theatrical run in the near future.

Source: Twitch

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  1. I loved Unforgiven when it first came out, and still do. That being said, I am interested in seeing this. I hope it does well enough to get released in the US at some point.

  2. Japanese people with swords are in the top five of my list of coolest things ever.

  3. Wow!! Can’t wait to see the English Sub. This movie looks sick!

    Japan does Yojimbo, we do A Fistful of Dollars.

    We do Unforgiven, they do Unforgiven.

    I love it when we do this to each other bcuz always in both versions they are epic! I love seeing the different interpretations. I’m very excited about this movie!

    Thanks for the upload!

    • Don’t forget The Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven.

      • Oh hell yeah, man! Didn’t forget. I just wanted to mention the 1st that spawned many great movies.

  4. Ken Watanabe is always great.
    Count me as a big fan of his work.

    This looks to be a quality production
    and I can’t think of a better actor
    to do this movie remake justice.

    Unforgiven is Clint’s best work and this
    new version takes nothing away from that.
    Clint cast Ken in his Letters From Iwo Jima, they
    are friends, and I am sure this film has his blessing

    • I became a fan after Last Samurai; Watanabi was superb, and so was the man playing his 2nd in command (the one who taught Cruise’s character the ways of the sword). Watanabi is the main reason I will be seeing this film.

      • You’re talking about Hiroyuki Sanada. If you haven’t seen it yet, I definitely recommend ‘The Twilight Samurai’. Definitely one of his best films.

        • Sanada was bad ass in that movie, well both of them.

        • Just added it to my netflix queue. Thanks for the recommendation.

        • Hiroyuki Sanada is in the upcoming The Wolverine.
          Not sure how big his role is but he is reason
          enough to see that motion picture.

  5. Arrgh! So excited to see a subtitled version! Unforgiven is in the Clint top 3 for me. Ken is probably one of my favorite import actors. Without him, Last Samurai would have been trash. He brings a sense of elegance to everything he does.

    • Elegance is the right word to ascribe to Ken’s work.
      Ken reminds me of old Hollywood in that regard.

      His charismatic chairman in Memoirs Of A Geisha,
      an old school romantic film in many ways, was
      the embodiment of elegance and Ken proved
      in that role he really can play anything.

    • He was the main reason for the success of Last Samurai but I think the actor who played his 2nd in command was also fantastic.

  6. I love the original unforgivien but that was 20 years ago I’m curious in this version .. And I think it would be hilarious if it turn out to he as good or better tan original

  7. Wow, this is so amazing. If it was an American remake of a Japanese movie, all of the comments here would be the exact opposite, lol. I guess cross-cultural remakes are only bad if America does it… :-D

    • I think several people just said how they like “A Fistful of Dollars” and “The Magnificent Seven”.

      • Those are already made movies that many people consider “classics.” They probably learned they were remakes after they watched them and decided they liked them…

        Just wait until the next article that pops up about an American remake of a movie from another country. Read the comments then… I guess you’re not a frequent visitor of this site of you’ll already know this trend. I find it hilarious…

        It was like that when they announced Let Me In, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Oldboy, etc. etc. etc.

        • there are bad foreign remakes to American movies, i just can’t name any right now. I’m sure they’re out there though.

          • There are good and bad remakes in any and all combinations. They can either be done well or done completely wrong. The thing I find very ironic and funny is that on this same very site (and I’m willing to bet some of these same people have done this), people will whine and moan for 5 pages into the comments whenever any mention is made about an American remake of a foreign film. You’ll read page after page after page of “Oh, Hollywood has run out of ideas, this is just for the idiot Americans who can’t read subtitles!” Then when there is a remake of an American movie to another language, all of a sudden it is “Oh, this looks so interesting, I love that actor! This is such a great idea!! I’m definitely watching this!” LMAO. That’s why I joked that it’s only wrong when America does it…

            To me, I don’t care who does what, it all depends on if it’s done right. No irony or contradictions here…

          • Response was marked for moderation, of course:

            There are good and bad remakes in any and all combinations. They can either be done well or done completely wrong. The thing I find very ironic and funny is that on this same very site (and I’m willing to bet some of these same people have done this), people will whine and moan for 5 pages into the comments whenever any mention is made about an American remake of a foreign film. You’ll read page after page after page of “Oh, Hollywood has run out of ideas, this is just for the 1d10t Americans who can’t read subtitles!” Then when there is a remake of an American movie to another language, all of a sudden it is “Oh, this looks so interesting, I love that actor! This is such a great idea!! I’m definitely watching this!” LMAO. That’s why I joked that it’s only wrong when America does it…

            To me, I don’t care who does what, it all depends on if it’s done right. No irony or contradictions here…

  8. I can’t wait for the english sub version!!! I want to see this!!! I Loved Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven.

    • I agree. I want to see a dub version of this really bad. It looks amazing!

  9. ENGRISH BOB

    • Racism is ok as long as it’s against those silly little slant-eyes…

  10. Shut up and take my money