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... See full summary »
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?
Zatoichi is forced to kill a young man who owes a debt to a yakuza boss. Moments later, his sister Osode arrives with the money she earned (prostituting herself) to pay his debts. The bosses true motives are revealed and he attempts to steal Osode even though the debt is paid. Zatoichi realizes his grievous error and protects the girl from the gang. Osode and Zatoichi are caught in a dilemma as she must rely on her brother's killer for protection and Zatoichi wrestles with the injustice he has caused. Written by
Fred Cabral <email@example.com>
Kenji Misumi's Samaritan Zatoichi was the last Zatoichi movie produced by Daiei Studios (before the bankruptcy), opening with a stylish title sequence with flashy colors which just scream '60s. It continues with the excellent first act, which balances humor, drama and action in an impressive fashion but the initial momentum of the film kinda slips away during the second two acts in a manner I can't quite explain, all I know is that the remainder of the film wasn't as interesting as the beginning.
This movie had the potential to become one of the best in the series, but for every good idea, there was a bad one. Zatoichi's friend is an interesting character who successfully brings some manzai humor into the film, but he appears and disappears from the storyline without rhyme or reason. Although the movie is visually accomplished with excellent cinematography, the soundtrack abandons the spaghetti western influences and returns to the melodramatic orchestral scoring. Zatoichi is shown vulnerable in this film, making bad decisions, killing the wrong people and cheating at gambling but there are unfortunately also some ridiculous scenes (like the one with the mat). The final battle with the mystery ronin is great, but there's essentially no point to that character. As a trivia fact, Ko Nishimura (from Zatoichi the Outlaw) returns as a different government official (with a similar fate).
Highlight of the film: Zatoichi giving nearby kids advice on how to catch sparrows.
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