According to history, Goemon Ishikawa was boiled alive after a failed assassination attempt on Toyotomi Hideyoshi (the man who unified Japan in the late 16th century). The problem is that this fact gets in the way of yet another Shinobi movie and at the end of the second film (the one immediately preceding this one) you see Ishikawa about to be tossed into the pot of boiling oil. The film makers get around this by saying that the man who was boiled was NOT Ishikawa but a double who was willing to pretend to be him. While not exactly believable, this worked well enough and the movie seems to be more a "what if" sort of film.
Throughout most of the movie, Ishikawa and a new sidekick ninja (sort of like his "Robin") do a lot of things to annoy and destabilize the government. However, this never was that satisfying for two reasons. First, their most daring work (the abduction or assassination of Hideyoshi's heir) was a complete failure. Second, when Ishikawa finally succeeds in penetrating Hideyoshi's castle in the film and is about to murder the man, Ishekawa realizes that the guy is about to die anyways of natural causes and he just leaves--muttering something about "killing him would be too kind"! So, he spent the entire movie trying to kill the man and doesn't when he finally gets a chance. And so, while the film is enjoyable and well made, there is not sense of satisfaction when all is said and done. It ends with a fizzle.
Despite these serious problems with the plot, this is probably the second best of the three films. Not bad at all--just anticlimactic.
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