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Ichi [Blu-ray] [2008]

74 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Haruka Ayase
  • Directors: Fumihiko Sori
  • Format: Anamorphic, PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Manga Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Aug. 2009
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002AF4BS0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,759 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Ichi (Haruka Ayase) is a blind minstrel wandering from town to town in feudal Japan. She is spurred on by the search for one man the blind warrior who trained her in martial arts as a child. When she is threatened by a group of bandits, she is saved by Toma (Takao Osawa), an incompetent samurai who is unable to draw his sword. Rescuing her rescuer, she continues her journey, only to discover that the locals now think that Toma is a superb swordsman. The townsfolk want him as a lawman, the bandits want him dead, and none of them realise that it is Toma s blind associate who is the true martial artist. Reluctantly, Ichi becomes embroiled in a battle between two gangs for the mastery of the town. However, Ichi s initial feelings about her involvement change when she discovers that the gang leader Banki (Shido Nakamura) may know the whereabouts of the man she is seeking.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Skudder TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ichi is a beautifully-shot film, with lush Japanese scenery and snowscapes, fabulous costumes and a striking main set. It is not a martial arts film as such: there are some swordfights but they are mostly over very quickly and much of the running time is taken up with the story.

Apart from the fights, the pace of the film is slow - like American movies used to be in the late 60's and 70's - which is a bit of a relief from the lightning fast edits of a lot of current Hollywood films.

All the way through the film I kept feeling that it was really a traditional western, dressed up in Japanese clothes and sent back a century or so in time. The main action takes place in a small town that even looks a lot like the scene of High Noon or any number of other cowboy films. There is a gang of bandits living inthe hills nearby who are terrorising the town - a typical western scenario.

Replace six-gun shoot-outs with samurai sword fights and this could be a Peckinpah film, right down to the slow motion blood fountains when Ichi get going with her sword. There is even an OK Corral-style showdown at the end when the outlaws and townsfolk face each other in the main street.

Altogether a very watchable film, and gorgeous to look at - unless you are averse to sub-titles.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By carlosnightman VINE VOICE on 17 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a lover of all things Japanese, originating from a childhood love of martial arts and monster movies, I am perhaps slightly biased when it comes to reviewing the latest Samurai movie. There have been quite a few good samurai movies in recent years, and tonnes of bad ones but possibly the best was Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi- the leatest in a long line of films based on the legend of the blind samurai. With Kitano's trademark style of soft contemplation followed by sudden quick blasts of violence and his unique and quirky take on the character, it was a big hit. With Ichi the legend continues, albeit from a different branch on the story tree. Instead of the silent man of legend we have a vibrant young lady (perhaprs having more in common with the Crimson Bat series) taking over the walking stick, continuing the recent trend of female led sword movies- Shinobi, Shadowless Sword, even Kill Bill. Our heroine is no less deadly though and she soon cuts her way through the cast with beautiful precision.

After an exiting introduction we are treated to the stunning scenary, period clothing and sets, and slow pace we would expect from this type of film. Those unfamiliar and expecting an all out action film may be soon disappointed. There is plenty of character building and story to squeeze in around the action, and there is none of the gore of Lady Snowblood, none of the fancy stringwork of Hero. If you're a fan of The Hidden Blade, Twilight Samurai etc you'll be right at home here. Ayase's Ichi is torn by horrible past events and she conveys both the sadness and violent eruptions of her character well, without resorting to sentiment or over the top shrieking. Takao Osawa also does well as Toma, the bumbling Samurai Ichi bumps into and travels with.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sam Woodward TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Aug. 2009
Format: Blu-ray
"Beware. I never know what I'll cut down. I cannot see."

Fans of Samurai flicks will be more than familiar with Zatoichi, the legendary blind swordsman portrayed in over 30 films & several TV series. Ichi (not to be confused with Takashi Miike's sadistic 'Ichi The Killer') is his female student, who is searching for her master - but like her predecessor, it isn't long before she's up to her armpits in blokes waving sharp impliments at her.

When cowardly samurai Toma (Takao Osawa, star of 'Aragami') defends her against the local lowlifes, it is Ichi who ends up having to save HIM. But the local tonwsfolk assume Toma must have killed them all single-handed, he is hailed as a hero & expected to finish off the rest of the bandit gang.

The films' pace is slightly too leisurely in places, as the numerous supporting characters are fleshed out. Yet conversely, it features some incredible action scenes & beautiful cinematography. Haruka Ayase was apparently a controversial casting choice but in my view, is perfect for the role - Ichi is a violent force of nature in the style of 'Lone Wolf' Oogami Itto, with the detached serenity of a Buddha statue, which Ayase combines with an understated vulnerability. This gives an interesting new dimension for the Zatoichi franchise to explore - and let's face it, it needs one, having been flogged to death over the decades. I look forward to the sequels.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Sept. 2009
Format: Blu-ray
`Ichi' is a modern take on the Zatoichi theme and whilst not bad, doesn't quite live up to it's predecessor. The whole film has a slightly `made for TV' quality about it, I can't put my finger on it but it's not as polished as it could be and the filming style seems more suited to a TV drama. There are beautiful set pieces, locations and costumes and these are the real highlights of the film. It has to be said that this film doesn't have the best acting skills in it, but the direction more than makes up for this with some excellently framed shots. The close ups of various natural scenes (Japanese maple leaves and pond fish for example) are stunning in their simplicity. The fight scenes are well choreographed and whilst graphic in places they aren't as excessive as some other films I've seen or compared to the regular gore fest films that come out of Hollywood these days. The storyline is fairy engaging and kept me watching until the end, although I'm not sure how soon I'll be re-watching this film, it may be a one watch wonder. If you like the Zatoichi film and Japanese dramas in general then this will right up your street and is well worth considering.

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