Nearing the village of his sensei, Zatoichi decides to pay the teacher a visit, only to learn that he has been murdered and his daughter forced into prostitution. Ichi's investigation into ... See full summary »
Hanzo is an incorruptible and unorthodox officer in Edo, as famous for his self-discipline and his love shaft as his sword. Against the backdrop of his magistrate's occasional rounding up ... See full summary »
Ichi seeks out on a pilgrimage to 81 temples, exploring spirituality to atone for his bloody past. On the way, Ichi stumbles into a village that's being bullied by a violent Yakuza boss and... See full summary »
Star Shintaro Katsu sits in the director's chair for this psychedelic and unremittingly bleak entry in the Zatoichi series, which is unlike any other in its grind-house grimness. A tale of ... See full summary »
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 »
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.
In the Edo period, a nameless ronin accepts an assignment to go to a mountain pass and wait. Near the pass he stops at an inn where a collection of characters gather, including a gang set ... See full summary »
Nearing the village of his sensei, Zatoichi decides to pay the teacher a visit, only to learn that he has been murdered and his daughter forced into prostitution. Ichi's investigation into these injustices uncovers a corrupt alliance between government officials and criminals, putting the blind swordsman on a bloody path of retribution in one of the series' darkest entries. Written by
Excellent; Shintaro Katsu's masterpiece! Surpasses last Kurosawa samurai films.
The best of the Zatoichi series, with Shintaro Katsu appearing very spry for someone who was almost sixty at the time. If you watch expecting non-stop swordfight pyrotechnics, you're going to be disappointed -- although there are several spectacularly choreographed swordfights, especially the massacre at the climax as well as some surprisingly bloody gore (it should be remembered Katsu produced the Lone Wolf and Cub movies starring his real-life brother, Tomisaburo Wakayama). This is very much a saga type picture, with blind masseur Ichi approaching elderly status but still wandering the backroads of 1860's Japan, gambling and being pursued by bounty hunting yakuza and lone wolf killers. One of the rewarding things about the film is that Katsu encounters old friends like beachcomber Norihei Miki. He also befriends a destitute artist samurai (Ken Ogata) who is conflicted by the bounty on Ichi's head but dismayed because fatalistic, wisecracking, warmhearted Ichi is the only person he can relate to! There are many other great character actors here such as pockmarked Yuya Uchida as one of the craven yakuza bosses. Katsu's real-life son, Takanori Jinnai appears as the scarfaced young upstart rival boss out to take control of the whole territory. A beautiful film that is very poetic and poignant as well as being exciting. Very evocative of the period, unlike many other samurai films made since the mid-80s, and, in my opinion, far superior to Akira Kurosawa's final samurai pictures, KAGEMUSHA and RAN. Contrary to one of the other reviews here, this is anything but a mishmash of elements from earlier entries.
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