‘Le Samurai’ is a French neo noir movie that was released in 1967. Alain Delon plays the part of contract killer Jef Costello. Costello is a loner that lives as a modern day samurai in a rundown sparsely decorated apartment with his pet bird.
The caged bird acts as a lookout for him. Letting him know if strangers have been in his apartment, while he is gone. The bird does this by shaking and moving around in the cage.
Costello dresses neatly in a trench-coat and fedora hat. and steals nice cars when he has a hit to go to. He looks like the American actor Tony Curtis, playing the part of Robert Mitchum in Paris, and like Mitchum he stares at people and doesn’t talk much.
Costello takes a contract hit on a nightclub owner, and a sultry piano player/singer that works in the club sees him as he leaves the office, after killing the nightclub owner.
The cops round up the usual suspects and the singer pretends that she didn’t see anything. This is France, and the cops act a lot different than our cops in the States. Under their system, Costello is presumed guilty until he proves otherwise.
The gangsters that put out the hit want Costello killed because he has now become a suspect, and the cops are after him and a girlfriend that provided an alibi for Costello. He is now on the run from the cops and the bad guys.
After about five minutes, I was thinking that I had seen another movie that was similar to this one.
In 1999, ‘Ghost Dog: The way of the samurai’ was released. Forest Whitaker plays the part of Ghost Dog, a loner hitman that lives in a shack, on top of an apartment house in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Ghost Dog raises homing pigeons in a large coop next to his shack. He lives the life of a samurai warrior, studying the samurai code, and other books. He also dresses in nice clothes and steals expensive cars when he has a contract hit to do. Ghost Dog kills a mafia boss, and is the run from the mob.
The producer of ‘Ghost Dog: The way of the samurai’ admits that he was influenced by ‘Le Samurai.’
I found both movies to be entertaining, if you like the dark, lone wolf type of characters. There’s plenty of action in both movies, but in my opinion the 1967 movie was better.
Whitaker pulled off the samurai part well, especially for a husky man with one eye that appears to be out of focus, with the other eye.
If I had a rating system, I would give both movies a 7.5 out of 10 for action, acting and locations.