Blind masseur Zatoichi is nursed back to health by a young woman after he is shot by a gang member. Zatoichi, who had come to the village to repay a debt, now feels further indebted. He commits himself to use his amazing sword skills to help the young woman's father, whose river-crossing service is under attack by the same gang responsible for Zatoichi's wounds.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
This one is by far my favorite Zatoichi film so far! Director Kazuo Ikehiro from the previous film makes a delightful immediate comeback and peppers the movie with more lovely stylishness, but without forgetting to care about the storyline.
Zatoichi's Flashing Sword has a wonderfully entertaining and easy-to- follow plot, without any filler and without complicating the ordeal with continuity follies. This is a straight-edge short adventure tale loaded with badassery (and fireworks!) and it even has more humor than Zatoichi films usually do. The only two things I'm not that fond of is the abrupt ending and the remark by one of the characters that every time tenth firework to go off is special. I don't really know what was the point of stressing that plot-point, but as long as there are underwater sword- fighting scenes to keep me occupied, I'm game. There's also a fantastic cold opening where Zatoichi shows his might by bisecting some pesky flies (this was later homage'd in an Usagi Yojimbo comic issue), the "The End" symbol starting to resemble the letter "Z" (like Zorro! Oh wait...) and of course, Shintaro Katsu's priceless portrayal of Zatoichi, who manages to be very gentle, kind and lovable considering that in this movie alone, he kills more people than Stalin, Hitler and Mao together, especially during the final 15 minutes during his "Angel of Death" mode.
Even the cinematography in this film is top notch, and far more memorable than in the previous installments. Everything is colored in those lovely, warm shades of orange (which remind me of Hideo Gosha's movie Hitokiri, also with Shintaro Katsu), and some shots are truly awesome, like the very one that opens the movie.
Highlight of the film: that'd have to be the incredibly awesome final battle of Zatoichi vs. a band of nameless thugs and their stuttering leader. The badassery is unhandle-able!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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