As far as setting the benchmark for the now popular epic action/adventure franchises in film and television (a trend began with the success of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, continuing today with the likes of Game Of Thrones), Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is the archetype. By no means is that to be construed as a negative comment, for the reason it is seen as such is because on just about every front is it a solid film. The screenplay is richly dense, both in terms of plot development and the complexity of the central characters, technically the film is a marvel (the use of telephoto lenses, a rarity in 1954), there is an atmospheric, rousing score from Fumio Hayasaka, and each of the actors (but most specifically Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura) portray their characters wonderfully. At the centre of it all is the genius of Kurosawa-san. It was on this film he perfected his technique of shooting with multiple cameras for battle sequences, now common practice in blockbuster cinema, and it was a troubled production shot on location (Kurosawa insisted on a period-authentic constructed village, as opposed to a studio lot) which saw it go over-budget, a shooting schedule stretched out over a year and being shut down twice by Toho. Despite this, Kurosawa weathered the storm, spending the time off fishing, reasoning that they’d invested too much in the picture to not finish it. For our sake, I’m grateful that this classic is here to stand tall as an example on how to make a epic action/adventure film, and is a gripping watch to boot.