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.
Blind swordsman Zatoichi, jailed briefly, is implored by another prisoner to aid him in proving his innocence of a crime for which he is sentenced to death. Zatoichi is reluctant to get involved, because he knows how often such involvement has led to trouble in the past. But events conspire to thrust him repeatedly into involvement, and gradually he comes to believe in the man's innocence and determines to free him. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
11 entries in and finally we get a non-generic title that's actually descriptive of the movie's own plot! Zatoichi and the Doomed Man is directed by Kazuo Mori, not the best director of Zatoichi films but not the worst. The movie can be described the same way. Not bad, but it could be better. At this point, the formula is really growing stale and the movie pokes fun at it. Also, Zatoichi has by now harnessed a considerable street cred - nearly everybody knows who he is, and this time around he even has an impersonator going around trying to make money and get laid by pretending he is Zatoichi.
There are a lot of comical moments here and it's obvious that the series has noticeably evolved from the dark melodrama of the first few films. Zatoichi is still here to kick ass and spread good deeds to the oppressed. The body count keeps piling up and up, all gambling dens across Japan have probably prohibited him to enter, and Shintaro Katsu's hair grows longer with each passing film (except for #9, where it sloppily changes between scenes). I also like how each Criterion cover has a different art style. This one is light-hearted and caricatural, and I think it fits the movie really well.
Highlight: Zatoichi encountering the ocean for the first time and wondering about its size, unable to see it.
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