7.4/10
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Zatôichi (1989)

Not Rated | | Action, Drama | 4 February 1989 (Japan)
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 »

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Zatoichi returns to his home village for the first time in over ten years to find much has changed and that corruption abounds.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yukiyo Toake, Eiji Okada
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Hisaya Morishige
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Zatoichi promises to deliver a maiden safely home but finds two dangerous gangs have a mysterious interest in the young girl.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shiho Fujimura, Ryûzô Shimada
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After accidentally causing an old lady's death, Zatoichi seeks out her daughter to atone for the tragedy, consequently getting into all sorts of trouble.

Director: Shintarô Katsu
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kiwako Taichi, Kyoko Yoshizawa
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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?

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shintarô Katsu, Ayako Wakao
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yu Wang, Watako Hamaki
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Zatoichi's trek through 88 temples to atone for his violent past is interrupted as he stumbles into a village terrorized by a violent yakuza boss.

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Michiyo Ohkusu, Kunie Tanaka
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Zatoichi meets an infamous blind leader of a gangster organization as he contends with a gloomy ronin widower.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Reiko Ôhara, Pîtâ
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The blind masseur and swordsman, Zatoichi, searches for proof an imprisoned man's innocence.

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kanbi Fujiyama, Eiko Taki
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Masayo Banri, Ryûzô Shimada
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Zatoichi is tricked by a crime gang into killing a man. Realizing his mistake, he sets out to protect the dead man's sister, who is conflicted in accepting his help.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yoshiko Mita, Makoto Satô
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In a town where debt-ridden peasants are being ruthlessly exploited, Zatoichi is forced to take sides between a cruel yakuza boss and his seemingly altruistic rival.

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Kô Nishimura
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Kanako Higuchi ...
Boss Han Bosatsu
Takanori Jinnai ...
Inspector Hanshu
Ryûtarô Gan ...
Boss Goemon (as Takehiro Okumura)
Yûya Uchida ...
Boss Akabei
Toyomi Kusano ...
Ume
Tsurutarô Kataoka ...
Tsuru
Miho Nakayama
Ken Ogata ...
Rônin / Masterless samurai
Norihei Miki ...
Zatoichi's friend
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Naonori Aihara
Ryo Akashi
Buntaro Aoyanaki
Yosuke Ara
Gô Awazu ...
Kame
Edit

Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Darkness is his ally [USA] See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 February 1989 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Shintaro Katsu's Zatoichi  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The last Zatoichi film to star Shintarô Katsu (who also produced, wrote and directed this film). See more »

Connections

Follows Mang jian xue di zi (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Tsugaru Jongara Bushi
Sung by Kazuko Matsumura
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Can't really recommend this one.
2 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Looked forward to seeing this last version by the original actor. But, aside from the color photography, violent swordsmanship, and invocations of past films, which deserve praise (if you recall the bloodless b&w films of the 60's), I really had trouble with the plot lines and trying to follow along the meandering trail of who was who, what was what, and why they were doing what they were doing.

There were a lot of characters featured here, and the connections among them were not very clear. A scar faced villain appears early on, and then shows up toward the end to complete the circle. A woman who seems to have unexplained authority seduces the hero and then drops completely from sight. A minor character shows off his remarkable skill in effecting a kill and then dies rather unexpectedly and without fanfare at the end.

The sword fighting in this movie explodes with unexpected suddenness, after long scene setting or mood setting intervals, in various parts of the film. The depiction of violence is pretty good, but some scenes are absurd, such as the one in which a leader who has donned a make shift suit of armor made up of metal coins (ryo pieces)is stabbed repeatedly and spurts blood all over, like that braggadocio knight in the first MONTY PYTHON picture.

You have to suspend your disbelief that a blind man can survive against 30 or 40 or 50 to one odds, especially in one case where the bad guys have guns. Is the hero gifted like the Marvel Comics hero Daredevil with extraordinary hearing? And extra sensory perception? Well, that is the only explanation for his survival. Or the absolute incompetence of his enemies in being able to formulate a plan of attack against him.

So many plot lines, so many unresolved issues. Zatoichi is like a tornado who comes to a village, gambles a bit, massages a bit, plays with kids, makes friends here and there, and then sweeps away many lives, leaving death and destruction, and then goes his lonely way down a dirt road. Ordinary folks may come out and cheer (as at the end of this film) for the presumed end of some oppression, but you are left wondering where were these people throughout the movie. What happens after he leaves? Finally, there is so much ethnic tradition being depicted here that many people may have a hard time understanding what is happening. So, I can't recommend this film highly -- unless a film goer has a lot of familiarity with the previous films featuring Zatoichi and can tolerate some of the problems I referred to above. Maybe the color photography may make things bright. "Painting the Clouds with Sunshine," as that old song goes. Here, though, it's blood red.


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