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
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 »
[Last lines: Zatoichi trips on a rock while walking down a road]
Even with my eyes wide open, I can't see anything.
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With tap dancing, mundane superpowers, and an attractive albeit gender-confused cross-dresser, Zatoichi truly offers 'something for everybody'.
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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