Is this Toshiro Mifune-Charles Bronson “fish out of water Eastern warrior trying to recover a lost national treasure teams up with roguish Western outlaw cowboy” the first instance of the same plot used again by The Stranger and the Gunfighter (1974, Lo Lieh and Lee Van Cleef) and Shanghai Noon (2000, Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson). I can’t think of an earlier one. And it really is the EXACT SAME PLOT.
Here Mifune plays the straight man (as in all of these) while Bronson is at perhaps his most chill and laid back. We also get a smug Alain Delon as the villain (yeah, he starts out on Team Bronson but one look at his black outfit and you know he’s breaking bad), Ursula Andress “andressing,” and bit roles for Capucine and Luc Merenda.
It’s all kind of competent and unexceptional, entertaining enough, as befits a film from stalwart journeyman Terence Young, but there’s a bit of gold in them thar hills, as when Mifune and Bronson ever so imperceptibly acknowledge each other in the opening.