Trained samurai with penchant for evil slowly goes insane
I'm not sure if this is the movie I'm thinking of, but if it is, this movie is a mixture of really bad and incredibly good. It starts with an old man praying for his god to end his life soon so that he is not a burden to his grand daughter. Enter our anti-hero, who, upon hearing the prayer, grants the old man his wish by beheading him. We discover that this powerful sword wielder is morally weak and is powerless to stop himself if people ask him to do awful things (even though they might not really mean it).
We find the anti-hero is the major contender for a local sword contest, and as such, is approached by his best competitors wife, who says she "will do anything" for him, if he throws the fight. Of course, the price the anti-hero exacts is that she must submit to him physically. The whole town finds out about it the day of the contest, and thus, the two competitors are now pitted against each other -- but the stakes have been raised to life or death. Naturally, the anti-hero kills the woman's husband. Then kills a dozen of his friends who jump him on the way home. The woman is kicked out of her (husband's) family, and thus approaches the anti-hero to take her in. This is just the beginning of the story!
There are corny things, like a well pump to symbolize intercourse, and red herrings galore such as a gun that is never really put to use, a man who trains and trains to face the anti-hero but never does, and the old man (from the first scene)'s daughter who pops up now and then but never seems to turn the plot. On the other hand there are terrific suspense scenes and well-drawn scenes where the anti-hero finds himself engrossed and drawn to evil deeds in an extraordinarily self-reflexive way.
For all this movies pitfalls, I consider it a must see for the 60% of the movie that is just dynamite.
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