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

R  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  6 September 2003 (Japan)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 37,788 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 186 user | 182 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)
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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

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

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Language:

Release Date:

6 September 2003 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$816,174 (Japan) (12 September 2003)

Gross:

$853,718 (USA) (24 September 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kitano said that he wanted the fights to be as realistic as possible, but that he wanted the blood to be extremely exaggerated. See more »

Quotes

Aunt Oume: This must be quite a sight! I'm guiding a masseur, who's carrying my vegetables.
Zatôichi: Wish I could see that!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dirties (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
With tap dancing, mundane superpowers, and an attractive albeit gender-confused cross-dresser, Zatoichi truly offers 'something for everybody'.
17 December 2004 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

This is a strange one, a drama/comedy/action film with absurdist overtones. In Japan, Zatoichi is a cult character who was the subject of 26 feature films between 1963 and 1989. Now director "Beat" Takeshi – best known for Hana Bi – introduces Zatoichi to a new generation. Takeshi also stars as Zatoichi, the elderly masseur and dice gambler whose hearing is so acute he can detect which side a die has fallen. He's a master swordsman, too – one slice and you're diced.

Supporting characters include two beautiful geishas avenging their parents' death, a farmer and her drunkard nephew, the gangsters running the town and a masterless samurai (an impressive performance from Tadanobu Asano).

The Blind Swordsman is great fun, although it could do with a tighter structure. And I was shocked by the spectacular tap-dancing finale – in traditional Japanese dress and shoes! ***½/***** stars.


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