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?
Cowritten by star Shintaro Katsu, this adventure pits Zatoichi against one of his most diabolical foes: a blind yakuza boss whose reign of terror and exploitation has made him nearly mythic... See full summary »
Star Shintaro Katsu sits in the director's chair for this psychedelic and unremittingly bleak entry in the Zatoichi series, which is unlike any other in its grind-house grimness. A tale of ... 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.
With a price on his head, Ichi seeks tranquillity in a favorite village. Since his last visit, it has fallen prey to Boss Masagoro, the son of a merchant rumored to have stolen gold from the shogunate. The boss has hired Yojimbo as his hard-drinking enforcer, but Yojimbo is both a spy for the shogunate, trying to find the gold, and in love with the merchant's unwilling mistress, Umeno. Ichi hires on as the merchant's masseur and buys Umeno's freedom with his employer's own money. This embarrasses Yojimbo who withdraws from a pact with Ichi to stir up trouble between father and son and their gangs. As the two sides fight, Ichi finds the gold and sets up a final set of confrontations. Written by
it's good for a one-time viewing, but I'm not sure if I'd rush to see it again
Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo was good as a throwaway movie-of-the-night to watch with friends (friends who were into Zatoichi and old samurai movies), but in the sense of it being something worthy of its stature, it didn't quite deliver. A big chunk of the problem, as many of reviewers as well as author Stuart Galbraith, was Toshrio Mifune wasn't really playing the character really as he was in the Kurosawa films. In the original Yojimbo and Sanjuro, Mifune crafted a true anti-hero bad-mutha samurai, who was grungy with his scratches, but also very cunning in how he could play both sides or act a little uncouth in his manipulations. Here, one just sees him acting like a stumbling drunk, and even a little like a scummy caricature of Yojimbo. Truth be told, it's meant more for Zatoichi fans- he was a HUGE title character, as played by its star Shintaro Katsu. But the problem there as well is that there have been better Zatoichi movies (I haven't even seen many, but the few I've seen, and as repetitive as they can get, aren't shoehorned plot-wise like so). And this isn't totally to put the movie down, as a cash-in flick it does attempt at making some entertaining segments (and I do like how the two of them decide at first to combine forces, so to speak). But it's all not very memorable, as many franchises end up doing when trying to combine their vehicle-makers, except for real die-hard fans of the stars or the genre. It's even sort of lackadaisically shot and edited, in a very formulaic manner.
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