Blind masseur and master swordsman, Zatoichi, is tired of killing. He journeys to his old village looking for peace, but is pursued by the brother of Boss Kanbei, a man he's killed. Back home, Ichi connects with Banno, his teacher, who seeks prestige and has arranged for his younger sister, Yayoi, to marry into a wealthy samurai family. Ichi and Yayoi realize they are in love, but Ichi's request for her hand meets with Banno's derision. Ichi is also drawn into Banno's plot to kidnap the son of a wealthy man, ostensibly to aid the Mito Goblins, a gang of thieves on the run; but Banno wants to keep the ransom. Ichi wants harmony and love, but can he escape a destiny of violence? Written by
New Tale of Zatoichi is the first of the series to be shot in color, and the difference between this film and its two predecessors is night and day. Now you can actually say what's going on during the night-time scenes and it overall looks much prettier. It's directed by Tokuzo Tanaka, most famous for other Zatoichi films and some jidaigeki films that have gained a mini-cult following.
The story to this one is equally as generic, convoluted and simple as it is confusing. I can't really explain it, but let's just say the previous two movies had story lines that drew me in far better. Little has changed about Zatoichi, he's still on a path of redemption, avoiding violence whenever he can and dipping his toe into some unresolved conflicts from the first two films.
I really like how this film looks, especially the night scenes taking place in the house of Zatoichi's former sensei (which is bathed in beautiful shades of light yellow and dark blue) and the foggy forest from the movie's finale.
Highlight of the film: the final shot, where Zatoichi exits the forest and walks away into a new day.
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