Against the backdrop of the Edo treasury devaluing currency and driving many into poverty, Hanzo Itami enforces the law without regard to status. He shows inadequate respect to the treasurer, who wants him dead. He finds a young woman dead following an abortion, and he enters a temple without permission looking for evidence. He tortures and then sexually assaults the temple's priestess to get information. He's then assigned to protect the mint from a notorious thief. There he closets himself in the bedroom of the mint's mistress. He waits. The thief arrives - but other crimes are afoot. Devalued currency, white slavery, and government corruption lead Hanzo to one conclusion.Written by
" If real justice is what you seek, you might think twice about calling the law "
Across the centuries in far off Japan, there's a series of films which I must admit I never gave much notice to. Here is one which caught my attention. It's called " The Razor " and are you in for a sober awakening when you see it. It's the story of an usual 'Lawman' assigned to a district in Japan. His name is Hanzo (Shintaro Katsu) or 'The Razor.' Although I learned there are several chapters in the series, this one is called "The Snare." Each segment explains he is a officer, but one has to be careful to apply it to our hero as he administers the law according to his own sense of morality. He is ill tempered with both his superiors and constituency. His boss considers him a loose cannon and is essentially correct as all classes within his jurisdictions are fearful of him. When on a case, few things prevent him from investigating all aspects. The corrupt nobility as well as low life thugs are fair game. The women of his cases have heard of his reputation and fear not only his steel, but also his personal sword as he uses both with incredible dexterity. The rich and powerful decide they cannot buy him, and employ their own reputable Samuri called "The Snake" (Magobei Onishi) to stop his investigation. Now Hanzo will face a skilled sword as dangerous as his. The film, the cast and story may have a long way to go before it measures up to American standards, but while watching it, little of that matters as we follow our hero as he assaults, kidnaps, tortures, kills and rapes his way to justice. A far cry from the usual, but a Classic non-the-less. Not recommended for the squeamish or easily offended. *****
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