Just saw an excellent film The Twilight Samurai
directed by Yoji Yamada. Yamada is best known for his Toro-san
films. Like that series, this film deals in human relationships with a story line that is punctuated with two fight scenes. Even though this film has won 12 Japanese Film Academy Awards and is an Academy Award Nominee, it might be overlooked. For those who can't see it on the big screen, it is out on DVD.
For those who believe the chambara genre (samurai films) should only be judged by body count and fight scenes, you'll have to wait for the USA release of the new(?) Zatoichi film July 23, 2004. I've been told it's been out in the Asian market for two years.