(Kanopy Streaming, October 2018) A band of men get together to protect a village from bandits: If Seven Samurai feels familiar, it’s because it’s been very, very influential since its release. You can trace successors both direct (The Magnificent Seven, original and remake versions) and indirect (the entire ensemble-cast of heroes action movie genre) to what it solidified. Akira Kurosawa left behind two templates (in between this and Yojinbo) for the action movie and other filmmakers haven’t been shy in reusing it. The draw here is as much the story as the performances of the actors, especially Toshiro Mifune as the wild card of the group, skilled but not sane. Seven Samurai is long, but there are a lot of rewards along the way, and a very immersive sense of being in a feudal-Japan-era village as the action unfolds. This may be an older black-and-white film, but it’s certainly not boring.