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Zatôichi chikemuri kaidô (1967)

Not Rated | | Drama, Adventure, Action | April 1970 (USA)
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.

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In a town where debt-ridden peasants are being ruthlessly exploited, Zatoichi is forced to take sides between a cruel yakuza boss and his seemingly altruistic rival.

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Zatoichi is tricked by a crime gang into killing a man. Realizing his mistake, he sets out to protect the dead man's sister, who is conflicted in accepting his help.

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Zatoichi's trek through 88 temples to atone for his violent past is interrupted as he stumbles into a village terrorized by a violent yakuza boss.

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
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Zatoichi meets an infamous blind leader of a gangster organization as he contends with a gloomy ronin widower.

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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?

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Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?

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A samurai with a high skill in chess makes friends with Zatoichi, who finds that things become peculiar in his presence.

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The blind masseur and swordsman, Zatoichi, searches for proof an imprisoned man's innocence.

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On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jûshirô Konoe ...
Tajuro Akazuka
Miwa Takada ...
Omitsu
Yukiji Asaoka ...
Tomoe
...
Mie Nakao ...
Miyuki
Takao Ito ...
Shokichi
Asao Koike ...
Maebara of Gonzo
Midori Isomura ...
Omine
Tatsuo Matsumura ...
Tahe
Eitarô Ozawa ...
Torikoshi
Jôtarô Senba ...
Chokichi
Kôjirô Kusanagi ...
Kurisu
Kenzô Tabu ...
Kanai of Manzo
Osami Nabe ...
Dice Player Hanzo (as Osamu Nabei)
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Storyline

Ichi is staying at an inn when a woman dies. Her dying wish is that Ichi take her son to his father, an artist living in a nearby town. After arriving in the town, Ichi finds out that the father has been forced by a local boss to create illegal pornography to pay off his gambling debts. Ichi makes it his mission to save tha man and reunite the family, even though it brings him into conflict with a samurai he sort of befriended on his way to the town Written by Scott Hamilton <stomptokyo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

April 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zatoichi Challenged  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Remade as Blind Fury (1989). See more »

Connections

Follows Zatoichi's Vengeance (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the most stylistic and gripping Zatoichi films
14 June 2002 | by (Kyoto) – See all my reviews

Shintaro Katsu's Zatoichi is such a memorable character not only because of his talent with a sword, but because he acts justly in an unjust world, even as a member of the yakuza "gangster" caste, an outcast of normal society, a nobody in status compared to a samurai; often, in fact, labeled a criminal. No one respects him for his honor, but only for his ability to kill. The world around him is based on fear, corruption and evil, and even the people that are good are invariably weak in the face of the strong and corrupt.

This Zatoichi story is unique. The blind swordsman is at a traveler's inn with a woman and her child when the woman dies. Her dying request is that Ichi take the boy to his father. Unfortunately the father is trapped in a plot to produce forbidden images on pottery and plates -- artistic renditions of women that are often hardly even suggestive, but in those days were outlawed. It is over pottery designs that much violence is to occur thanks to corrupt officials, evil yakuza, and the twisted justice of the government.

Zatoichi has often been juxtaposed with a costar acting as a foil. In ZATOICHI CHALLENGED that foil is a child on the road with Ichi. This pairing elicits just the right combination of emotion and personality from the blind swordsman, giving his character added depth and feel. It is very gratifying to see Zatoichi in a fatherly role.

Ichi deserves more empathy and respect in this film. The father-son story device, the twisted justice of the government samurai, and the stylistic energy of the film are the perfect background for what Ichi's character symbolizes. Here Ichi is complete; an excellent protagonist.

The final battle scene takes uncommon form -- the added effect of the snow alone makes it magical. It is more stylistically shot than most Zatoichi battles, it seems edited with emphasis on emotion rather than action, and it ends in a very atypical way. Here the action seems to be balanced well in benefit of the story and style of the film. This makes the action for its own sake all the more beautiful to watch.

Also see the father-son device used in another excellent samurai series, Lone Wolf and Cub (Kozure Okami), starring Shintaro Katsu's brother, Tomisaburo Wakayama.


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