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.
Blind swordsman/masseuse Zatoichi befriends a young woman returning home with her baby. When gangsters mistake her for Zatoichi and kill her, Zatoichi determines to escort the baby to its father. He gains the reluctant help of a young pick pocket and together they travel to find the baby's father. But they do not reckon on the father's reaction to their arrival, nor on their own growing feelings for the child. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
The original title of this movie translates roughly to "Zatoichi's Travels of Laughter and Blood", but that title apparently sounded too good to whoever translated it into "Fight, Zatoichi, Fight". Seriously, we're 8 movies in and every single title so far has been so generic that it could fit practically any film in the series, with the exception of "Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold".
#8 sees the return of director Kenji Misumi, who directed #1. Composer Akira Ifukube and cinematographer Chishi Makiura also mark their return, giving the film a calmer style as opposed to the two films that preceded it. #8 is like a precursor to the Lone Wolf and Cub series, as Zatoichi gets to take care of a baby, trying to return it to its father while fighting off mercenaries. Speaking of fights, don't trust the title "Fight, Zatoichi, Fight" as there is less action in this film when compared to the previous ones. This one is really emotional and heart- warming, and also has the most fluid pace so far, not to mention there's plenty of humor (Zatoichi trying to breastfeed the baby... Priceless). Also, the film starts with Zatoichi nearly stepping on a turd, but managing to avoid the danger after all. I don't really know what Misumi & co. were trying to say there.
The visuals and sword-fighting sequences get better with each film. This one has some wonderful nature shots where the green color gets plenty of opportunities to dominate (I love the scene set in that scarecrow field). The fights are fewer in this movie, but they're also really well thought out and inventive, with the price of the audience having to suspend their disbelief a bit further, seeing how Zatoichi's tricks get more and more crazy as the series continues.
Highlight: the final battle. Zatoichi faces off against torch-wielding thugs and defeats them all despite being on fire!
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