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Zatoichi [Blu-ray] [2003]

'Beat' Takeshi Kitano , Tadanobu Asano , 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano    Suitable for 18 years and over   Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Zatoichi [Blu-ray] [2003] + 13 Assassins [Blu-ray] + Ichi [Blu-ray] [2008]
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Product details

  • Actors: 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano, Tadanobu Asano
  • Directors: 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Oct 2008
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001EBO97Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,530 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano, best known for his 1997 film 'Hana-Bi', revives the Japanese fictional action anti-hero Zatoichi in this violent and bloody swashbuckling samurai adventure. Zatoichi (played by Takeshi himself) may be blind but he is also an incredibly gifted and precise swordsman. When the ruthless Ginzo gang, with the help of the legendary Hattori, mercilessly take over a remote mountain town, Zatoichi and his friend Shinkichi must do everything in their considerable powers to stop them.

About the Director

Takeshi Kitano's dazzling film is a thrilling tale of swordplay and adventure set in 19th Century Japan. Zatoichi ('Beat' Takeshi) is a blind wanderer whose humble facade disguises his prodigious skills as a master swordsman, gifted with a lightning fast draw and strokes of breathtaking precision. Arriving in a remote mountain town, he finds its people terrorised by the ruthless Ginzo gang and their mighty samurai ronin Hattori, who mercilessly dispose of all who get in their way. With his legendary cane sword at his side, Zatoichi's path is destined for many violent confrontations.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest films of all time. 1 Feb 2005
This edition of Takeshi Kitanos fantastic film is the ultimate PAL version with the addition of a DTS soundtrack. Colours are better in the Japanese release, but since I get lots of subtitled extras and a DTS soundtrack (and I prefer PAL speedup to NTSC pulldown) I went with this one.
It comes in a metal box with some nice prints of the publicity artwork, a booklet with plenty of Takeshi Kitanos thoughts on his work and a frame of 35mm film. I got one with the rather amusing subtitle "Did you kill everyone in the room?". One of the best collectors edition treats out there.
If you haven't actually seen the film then just buy it now. It's clever, funny, violent, moving, silly and thoughtful all at once. I have not seen such a complete work of cinematic art since Kurosawas films and yet this has a style all it's own. The music is clever, varied, and enhances the stunning visuals superbly. With this film Takeshi Kitano takes the step (in my eyes) from talented director to genius. I know people always exaggerate on the net and stuff but I don't. I'm serious. This is a truly awesome work of art.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Transfer not up to Blu-ray standard. 12 Jan 2010
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Having recently bought a new Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray player, I've been buying and watching some great films in the high definition format. I've enjoyed lustrous transfers of films such as "Gone With The Wind", "North By Northwest" and "Zulu" over the last few weeks, and so I had high hopes for "Beat" Takeshi Kitano's 2003 film "Zatoichi".

The transfer is deeply disappointing. Having already seen the film in standard definition, there is absolutely no discernable difference between that version and the Blu-ray. Poor contrast levels and picture noise are the ever-present in this version of the film. It's just not good enough.

In retrospect, it's hardly surprising. Artificial Eye relases, along with those from the BFI, are usually lazy and slipshod affairs, with poor transfers and so-so extras the norm. In short, AE are the anti-Criterion. It's sad that people -like me- get sucked in with assumptions of a higher quality from Blu-ray releases merely because some high def releases are very good indeed.

The film itself is reasonable (although Takeshi's 1997 "Hana-Bi" is in another league in terms of quality) and I would probably give it a 3/5, but the transfer just is not. Add to that the usuual bog-standard "making of" documentary and biographies (all which you could find on the internet), and this is one to avoid.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece 4 Feb 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Kitano is one of my favourite directors. He is able to say so much without dialogue. This films has a lot more pace and humour than his previous filmography. A movie that is well shot, engaging, funny and dark also. It has something for action aficionados but there are much deeper messages for those that are willing to let the story of a blind swordsman open their eyes.

It also features a moving and unique soundtrack that features electronic instruments/samples as well as traditional Japanese instruments.

Stop reading this go and watch it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Modern classic 10 Dec 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
One of those movies I really wanted to have in my collection after first time I saw it.
Keep coming back to it every so often.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff 14 Nov 2013
Had it on DVD, such an excellent film I had to upgrade it. Kitano's work is marvellous, for a completely other side of his work I would recommend "Dolls"
Dolls VHS Miho Kanno
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4.0 out of 5 stars Twists and turns and lots of splatter 10 Nov 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This is one of those samurai movies where you don't know which period it's set in until the appearance of an artifact or a European in costume. In this case it's a gun which places it sometime in the later 19th century. Not that it makes any difference in the slightest. It's also an update of a long-running series about Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman. Here he's played by Beat Takeshi who is capably directed by Takeshi Kitano who is also his alter ego.

And it's all good gory violent fun. Lost of action and gallons of cgi blood spatter and some cgi wounds. It's also got a plot, or at least several characters in search of one. Zatoichi, whose name is rarely mentioned, has taken on the guise of a wandering masseur and arrives at a small town ruled by rival gangs. Oh, the opening scene has him despatching a bunch of people who've been hunting him. Just to get the viewer warmed up for what's to come. He's taken in by a kindly lady of uncertain age and promptly goes gambling, something he's good at, where he befriends the lady's feckless nephew aka the comedy relief.

There are three other players of significance in this drama. There's the ronin who, needing money to buy medicine for his ill wife, accepts a job as bodyguard to a gang leader. He isn't a bad person as such but is completely ruthless in accomplishing what he is paid to do and we just know that this will bring him into contact with our ageing blind hero. More sympathetic are the two homicidal geishas. Actually they are sister and brother who are tracking down those who slaughtered their family when they were children. The boy has adopted female guise and, while growing up, went with men -who clearly knew what and how old he was- to earn money.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars blu ray steelbook review
Lovely steelbook, pity about the transfer. Heavy grain and flickering in very dark scenes. Such a shame as its a great movie that deserves a better transfer than this. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Steven Lupson
4.0 out of 5 stars Clint Eastwood with a stick
Good film in the great Zatoichi tradition but I much prefer the Old films but actors get older and must be replaced, look at Doctor Who. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sterling
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever!
I took a gamble on this and bought it based on a few clips but I'm very pleased that I did. I thought the film was really cleverly done and really enjoyed it.. Read more
Published 10 months ago by D. Cooke
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I really don't know why Zatoichi got such hight ratings, I found it shallow and boring at times, predictable and not very well shot. Read more
Published 18 months ago by JG
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Very entertaining, funny, artistic and overall a great, well made film. Stout and wholesome, sad, exciting, with a fantastic dance finish.
Published on 22 July 2012 by John M. Watkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
bluray quality is good,

very good movie, to be seen urgently!
Atmosphere, battles, fun, stylish, story, everything is good! Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2011 by kawaijb
5.0 out of 5 stars a true masterpeice!i love mr beat takeshi!
ive always adored this film,had it on regular disc but had to buy this beautiful edition due to its great price.i suggest any true zatoichi fan like myself should do so too!
Published on 21 Sep 2010 by R P Mcmurphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and good
A violent and bloody japanise samurai movie, though this Zorro-like tale is an intriguingly entertaining adventure. Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2010 by Roland Deschain
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