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 »
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
On the morning of Monday 26 December 1988, in the movie village (eiga-mura) located in the mountains of Kanami, Ryûtarô Gan (age 24) - eldest son of Shintarô Katsu - stabbed Yukio Katô (age 34) in the neck with a katana long sword, while performing in an action scene for this film. Katô was taken unconscious to the Okayama University Hospital (Okayama Daigaku Igakubu Fuzoku-byôin), where he died as a result of massive blood loss from the neck wound. Hiroshima Prefectural Police determined that the incident was one of professional negligence causing death (gyômujô-kashitsu chishi). See more »
Rich, beautifully crafted film from a master of samurai cinema
Shintaro Katsu is an actor who needs no introduction. Having played the rascal Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman, in 26 films, he knew exactly what made those films so indelible. Though he had directed a few smaller films in the past (including Zatoichi in Desperation), this was his largest budgeted and most personal work.
Zatoichi: Darkness is his Ally, is a breathtakingly beautiful film, shot with almost totally natural lighting. In fact, the photography of the film is near brilliant in it's lighting and set-up. Katsu's handling of the action scenes is absolutely top-notch. Kudos must be given to the final set piece, which I dare-say may be one of the best sword battles in Chanbara film history.
But it is Katsu's moving, final performance as the wandering swordsman, that gives this film it's weight. His mere presence is so compelling, and his carrying of even the smallest of scenes so capable, that you wish the film would just continue forever, just to bask in a master actor's radiance that much longer.
Some people may balk at the slightly episodic (and convoluted) storyline, but there are so many beautifully handled scenes, you can easily forgive any of the films flaws. Samurai film fans, take note, this is one movie you don't want to miss.
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