Blind swordsman/masseur Zatoichi is pursued by the retainers of a lord who fear that he will reveal a secret weakness of their master. Returning to the village where a year before he had killed Hirate, a much-admired opponent, Zatoichi encounters another swordsman and former rival in love: his own brother. He must face in combat not only the pursuing retainers but his own flesh-and-blood. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Never mind the first film to take its time in introducing the character to us, of which I am glad that it didn't rush. Now that we and the others in the film "know" him ( although part of the fun is that nobody is really able to know him and his skill really) the film goes to hyperdrive mode straightaway.
It's fascinating to see this in retrospect, knowing it is a long franchise, and trying to map out the development and where the film and its success came from. Inthink the first film is strong because it takes its time in creating its own universe, simply so that the sequels don't have to work so hard in setting things up. It's nice, and so is the self-reference it allows both in humour and mythology, but the films quickly morph into each other. It doesn't seem to be a problem here, since aren't all series all about working for or against the set rules and archetypes in the previous films?
Anyway, I think the two films have very well set up Zatoichi's blindness as a metaphor, yet it's the first film that's more ambitiously conceived. In this respect these two first films are like "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro", Kurosawa's duology. The last shot of this film, however, is one of the coolest film moments I know of. Seriously. That last five seconds.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?