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Zatôichi (1989)

Not Rated | | Action , Drama | 4 February 1989 (Japan)
Older, wiser but still a wandering loner, the blind, peace-loving masseur Ichi seeks a peaceful life in a rural village. When he's caught in the middle of a power struggle between two rival... See full summary »

Director:

Shintarô Katsu

Writers:

Tatsumi Ichiyama (screenplay), Shintarô Katsu (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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More Like This 

Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Zatoichi returns to his home village for the first time in over ten years to find much has changed and that corruption abounds.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yukiyo Toake, Eiji Okada
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Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Zatoichi promises to deliver a maiden safely home but finds two dangerous gangs have a mysterious interest in the young girl.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shiho Fujimura, Ryûzô Shimada
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After accidentally causing an old lady's death, Zatoichi seeks out her daughter to atone for the tragedy, consequently getting into all sorts of trouble.

Director: Shintarô Katsu
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kiwako Taichi, Kyoko Yoshizawa
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Hisaya Morishige
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Masayo Banri, Ryûzô Shimada
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In a town where debt-ridden peasants are being ruthlessly exploited, Zatoichi is forced to take sides between a cruel yakuza boss and his seemingly altruistic rival.

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Kô Nishimura
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Jûshirô Konoe, Miwa Takada
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Zatoichi meets an infamous blind leader of a gangster organization as he contends with a gloomy ronin widower.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Reiko Ôhara, Pîtâ
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shintarô Katsu, Ayako Wakao
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Promising to make a delivery for a dying man, the blind swordsman Zatoichi comes across the usual crime gangs but also meets a blind monk who brings into question his use of violence.

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shigeru Amachi, Jun Hamamura
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Zatoichi, while fighting off the usual group of gangsters, meets the apprentice of the swordsman who created his blade, who relays bad news about the sword.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shiho Fujimura, Yoshihiko Aoyama
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Cast

Credited cast:
Shintarô Katsu ... Zatôichi / Ichi, a zatô in the Tôdô-za
Kanako Higuchi Kanako Higuchi ... Boss Han Bosatsu
Takanori Jinnai Takanori Jinnai ... Inspector Hanshu
Ryûtarô Gan Ryûtarô Gan ... Boss Goemon (as Takehiro Okumura)
Yûya Uchida Yûya Uchida ... Boss Akabei
Toyomi Kusano Toyomi Kusano ... Ume
Tsurutarô Kataoka Tsurutarô Kataoka ... Tsuru
Miho Nakayama
Ken Ogata Ken Ogata ... Rônin / Masterless samurai
Norihei Miki Norihei Miki ... Zatoichi's friend
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Naonori Aihara Naonori Aihara
Ryo Akashi Ryo Akashi
Buntaro Aoyanaki Buntaro Aoyanaki
Yosuke Ara Yosuke Ara
Gô Awazu Gô Awazu ... Kame
Edit

Storyline

Older, wiser but still a wandering loner, the blind, peace-loving masseur Ichi seeks a peaceful life in a rural village. When he's caught in the middle of a power struggle between two rival Yakuza clans, his reputation as a deadly defender of the innocent is put to the ultimate test in a series of sword-slashing showdowns. Written by Tokyo Shock

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Darkness is his ally [USA] See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

4 February 1989 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Shintaro Katsu's Zatoichi See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Katsu Production See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the morning of Monday 26 December 1988, in the movie village (eiga-mura) located in the mountains of Kanami, Ryûtarô Gan (age 24) - eldest son of Shintarô Katsu - stabbed Yukio Katô (age 34) in the neck with a katana long sword, while performing in an action scene for this film. Katô was taken unconscious to the Okayama University Hospital (Okayama Daigaku Igakubu Fuzoku-byôin), where he died as a result of massive blood loss from the neck wound. Hiroshima Prefectural Police determined that the incident was one of professional negligence causing death (gyômujô-kashitsu chishi). See more »

Connections

Follows Zatoichi at Large (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Tsugaru Jongara Bushi
Sung by Kazuko Matsumura
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Can't really recommend this one.
2 March 2008 | by LiwatakiSee all my reviews

Looked forward to seeing this last version by the original actor. But, aside from the color photography, violent swordsmanship, and invocations of past films, which deserve praise (if you recall the bloodless b&w films of the 60's), I really had trouble with the plot lines and trying to follow along the meandering trail of who was who, what was what, and why they were doing what they were doing.

There were a lot of characters featured here, and the connections among them were not very clear. A scar faced villain appears early on, and then shows up toward the end to complete the circle. A woman who seems to have unexplained authority seduces the hero and then drops completely from sight. A minor character shows off his remarkable skill in effecting a kill and then dies rather unexpectedly and without fanfare at the end.

The sword fighting in this movie explodes with unexpected suddenness, after long scene setting or mood setting intervals, in various parts of the film. The depiction of violence is pretty good, but some scenes are absurd, such as the one in which a leader who has donned a make shift suit of armor made up of metal coins (ryo pieces)is stabbed repeatedly and spurts blood all over, like that braggadocio knight in the first MONTY PYTHON picture.

You have to suspend your disbelief that a blind man can survive against 30 or 40 or 50 to one odds, especially in one case where the bad guys have guns. Is the hero gifted like the Marvel Comics hero Daredevil with extraordinary hearing? And extra sensory perception? Well, that is the only explanation for his survival. Or the absolute incompetence of his enemies in being able to formulate a plan of attack against him.

So many plot lines, so many unresolved issues. Zatoichi is like a tornado who comes to a village, gambles a bit, massages a bit, plays with kids, makes friends here and there, and then sweeps away many lives, leaving death and destruction, and then goes his lonely way down a dirt road. Ordinary folks may come out and cheer (as at the end of this film) for the presumed end of some oppression, but you are left wondering where were these people throughout the movie. What happens after he leaves? Finally, there is so much ethnic tradition being depicted here that many people may have a hard time understanding what is happening. So, I can't recommend this film highly -- unless a film goer has a lot of familiarity with the previous films featuring Zatoichi and can tolerate some of the problems I referred to above. Maybe the color photography may make things bright. "Painting the Clouds with Sunshine," as that old song goes. Here, though, it's blood red.


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