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Ichi (2008)

R  |   |  Action  |  25 October 2008 (Japan)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 2,359 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 40 critic

Ichi is a blind woman who roams about town with her shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese guitar), but she has exceptional sword skills with which she fights off yakuza and other villains.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Haruka Ayase ...
Ichi
...
Banki
Yôsuke Kubozuka ...
Toraji Shirakawa
Takao Ohsawa ...
Toma Fujihira
Gô Rijû ...
Kihachi
...
Mitsu
Tetsuo Yamashita
Ayumu Saitô
Toru Tezuka
Kumiko Tsuchiya
Shirô Namiki ...
Kataoka
Tetta Sugimoto ...
Blind man
Megumi Yokoyama ...
Toma's mother
Eri Watanabe ...
Ohama
Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi
Edit

Storyline

Ichi is a blind woman who roams about town with her shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese guitar), but she has exceptional sword skills with which she fights off yakuza and other villains.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sequences of bloody violence, and brief sexuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 October 2008 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

I tyfli samurai  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of The Tale of Zatoichi (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Will
Lyrics by Natsumi Kobayashi
Composed by Ryosuke "Dr.R" Sakai
Arrangement by Yoichiro Kakizaki
Performed by SunMin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dull and Expressionless!!
21 February 2011 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Zatoichi, the blind wandering yakuza, as played by Shintaro Katsu, is a broad and irreverent character. He is at times, funny or serious, crafty and silly, pathetic yet heroic. In fact this character tramples over the affectations and customs of the day with intelligence and glee. This finely tuned and expansive portrayal of Zatoichi by Shintaro Katsu is the main reason his numerous films and TV episodes still endure today.

Ichi (2008) is an alternative take on the blind wandering Yakuza character and Zatoichi becomes a blind wandering Goze (female blind musician).

The main problem with Ichi (2008) is that the titular character has no character. Haruka Ayase plays Ichi with only one expression, that of dead-pan emotionless. This incarnation of Ichi has no humour, pity or sympathy. The acting in general is pretty poor with scowling cackling villains complimented by dull non-expression. Apart from the action the film is shot very much like a TV movie.

The fight scenes in the original Zatoichi movies and TV episodes all had one thing in common, the suddenness and brutality of the action. Shintaro Katsu's dexterity and deftness with the sword and also the long single takes allowed the action to be seen and as a result the fights were almost always surprising. In the same way you may enjoy and marvel at a Bruce Lee fight, the same can be said of a Shintaro Katsu sword fight.

In Ichi (2008) this sudden and convincing violence is gone, to be replaced by the cinematic cliché of real-time cut to slow-motion and back again. This gimmick does not help the audience with actually seeing the action, as most of it is missed by the selected camera set-ups or the self-conscious rapid editing. The CGI blood adds nothing to make the violence more authentic.

Haruka Ayase is unconvincing in the fight scenes. She may hit her marks but there is little force behind the sword to make it believable she is cutting up men like butter. This same problem occurred with Azumi (2003) when Aya Ueto skipped through the fight scenes with ineptitude and men simply fell-over.

For the best results in female martial arts action, it is better to cast an actress with a background in dance or martial arts like or Ziyi Zhang in House of Flying Daggers (2004) or Yanin "Jeeja" Vismistananda in Chocolate (2008).

Ichi (2008) is a missed opportunity scuppered by mediocrity.


5 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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