Nearing the village of his sensei, Zatoichi decides to pay the teacher a visit, only to learn that he has been murdered and his daughter forced into prostitution. Ichi's investigation into ... See full summary »
Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?
Chokichi Kuwahata was once a leading actor, but he is ravaged by dementia and old age now. His daughter and the men in her life go against his wishes and place him in a retirement home. He ... See full summary »
After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.
Up until I saw "Zatoichi: The Last", I thought the final Shintarô Katsu Zatoichi film (returning 27 years after the first film in the series) was the most unnecessary. That 1989 film found the legendary blind swordsman in prison--broken and only a shadow of his old self. Well, in "Zatoichi: The Last" it's even worse. He's not a shadow of his old self...he's simply NOT Zatoichi and it's a film that fan's can't help but hate.
This long and humorless film finds Zatoichi vowing to stop fighting and finally settle down after the murder of his wife. He goes to a crappy village full of farmers and fishermen. Surprise, surprise...soon baddies show up and beat up, rape and rob these poor people. Oddly, though, it sure takes a long time for enough to be enough and for Zatoichi to chop the baddies to pieces. And, since the film has "The Last" in its title, you can pretty much figure out how it's all going to end. No surprises here.
For folks who have never seen the films before this, I'd score this one a 6. It's depressing, overly long but worth seeing. For fans, I'd give this one a Zero if it was possible. This new Zatoichi acts and looks NOTHING like the original. Katsu's version which he played for 31 films was funny at times, likable and grizzled. This incarnation is just not this character in any way. A terrible slap in the face of fans.
By the way, I sure would have loved to have seen Takeshi Kitano return for another Zatoichi film. His 2003 Zatoichi film actually DID capture the spirit of the older films AND infused some freshness as well. So I am NOT against seeing a Zatoichi film without Shintarô Katsu---but the character must be consistent and in the spirit of the original films.
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