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?
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.
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. Guest starring the legendary Tatsuya Nakadai as a ronin haunted by a traumatic past, and featuring an unforgettable nude swordfight in a bathhouse, this twenty-first entry in the series is a fan favorite. Written by
Tatsuya Nakadai, the actor who played Zatoichi's final opponent in this film eventually played the main protagonist in the film Kagemusha (1980). The role was originally set to be played by Shintaro Katsu (Zatoichi) but he quits due to creative differences with director Akira Kurosawa. See more »
This entry in the Zatoichi series is firmly planted in the 1970s and at times has an almost James Bondesque feel to it. This is especially true in the bath house scene where Zatoichi goes to enjoy a calming bath and ends up attached by scores of tattooed, naked yakuza. The music is great and the scene is frenetic and fun at the same time. Wooden buckets are used strategically and in a funny way. For veteran Zatoichi fans, notice how Zatoichi's style differs when he uses someone else's sword.
Tatsuya Nakadai does take part in Festival of Fire. He is a truly deranged and dangerous ronin. Of course it's Zatoichi's fate to meet him in the final scene.
The colors are brilliant, there's a good musical score and it's a fine blend of humor, drama, and action. This is an entry with wide appeal for chambara fans. It's campy at times, so those who love the early Zatoichi films most might feel that this film is a bit frivolous, but for the casual viewer there is much to enjoy.
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