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The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003)
"Zatôichi" (original title)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 35,967 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 184 user | 186 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

The blind masseur/swordsman comes to a town in control of warring gangs, and while bunking with a farming family, he meets two women with their own agenda.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Zatôichi / Ichi (as Beat Takeshi)
...
Michiyo Ôkusu ...
Aunt Oume
Gadarukanaru Taka ...
Daigorô Tachibana ...
Geisha Seitaro 'Osei' Naruto
...
Geisha Okinu Naruto
Yui Natsukawa ...
O-Shino, Hattori's Wife
Ittoku Kishibe ...
Boss Inosuke Ginzo
Saburô Ishikura ...
Boss Tashichi Ogi
Akira Emoto ...
Tavern Owner Pops
Ben Hiura ...
Tavern Gramps
Kohji Miura ...
Lord Sakai
Hideboh ...
Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Ron II ...
Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Suji ...
Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Edit

Storyline

Blind Zatoichi makes his living by gambling and giving massages. But behind his humble facade, Zatoichi is a master swordsman, gifted with lightning-fast draw and strokes of breathtaking precision. Zatoichi wanders into a town run by sinister gangs and a powerful samurai. He's destined for violent showdowns when he stumbles on two beautiful geishas avenging their parents' murder... Duels, wit and a touch of zen! Cult anti-hero Zatoichi is back in a sword-fighting adventure written, directed and starring Takeshi Kitano. Written by intlpress@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

zatoichi | samurai | swordsman | ronin | murder | See more »

Taglines:

His Sword Made Him a Hero... His Courage Made Him a Legend. This Summer, Justice is Blind.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong stylized bloody violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 September 2003 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$61,104 (USA) (23 July 2004)

Gross:

$853,718 (USA) (24 September 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The end dance sequence is a tribute to many of the popular Japanese films, in which the Hollywood-style happy ending was followed by a sudden "burst into song". He wanted to attempt this, but in a different type of way. Kitano combined traditional Kabuki theatre clog-dancing with "the latest African-American tap style". See more »

Quotes

Shinkichi: Aren't you betting?
Zatôichi: I'll just watch for now.
Shinkichi: Watch? But you're blind!
See more »

Connections

References Seven Samurai (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful
25 November 2004 | by (Stockholm, Sweden) – See all my reviews

The story of the blind swordsman Zatoichi should be well known to most aficionados of Japanese cinema. I was thrilled when i heard that Takeshi Kitano (of all people) would be making a re-make of the classic series. And i was not disappointed.

The blind masseur/swordsman Zatoichi stumbles upon a lone widow when he comes walking in the countryside. He helps her carry a basket and she tells him of her problems while he is invited to stay with her. The local town is plagued by a war between different criminal factions and the protection rates are constantly going up. Soon two geishas also arrive in town with their own agenda, linked to one of the warring gangs.

Zatoichi is a beautiful film in my opinion. Everything from photography and scenery to music is exceptionally well tuned to the mood of the film. Also the action sequences are very well made, the fencing well choreographed and nicely shot. What distracted me somewhat though is the use of liquid animation for the blood. There is almost no usual fake blood in this movie, rather it's liquid animation-blood spraying when people are stabbed. This looks odd, but it's still a minor distraction.

Zatoichi feels both like a nice tribute to 60's and 70's samurai-films as well as a fresh take on the genre. Both modern and classic, which is one of the finest compliments i feel you can give a movie like this one. I enjoyed it very much and i rate it 7/10.


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