9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2010
Zatoichi and violence are not strangers, and as the series progressed from the sixties and seventies to this final 1989 entry in the sequence, the films grew more explicit and bloody, but the carnage was never meant to take centre stage. The character of Ichi, played wonderfully by Shintaru Katsu throughout the run of 26 films, is literally a masterclass in method acting, encompassing the whole gamut of reaction, emotion and evocative gesture.
It's pretty hard to believe that anybody would simply watch a Zatoichi movie simply for the swordplay, and although the fighting sequences are quite liberally scattered throughout the almost two hours running time, comparing the Japanese version i have with the UK version it is almost impossible to identify any jarring cuts or censorship, as the style of the films was always more about suggesting the horror of physical confrontation rather than glorying in scenes of hacked limbs and severed heads or fountains of blood, which can be found in the markedly different Lone Wolf and Cub series, popular around the same time as the majority of the Zatoichi series in the 70s.
If you like films about character, and to be aware of their weaknesses and motivations, and scenes of pure cinematic beauty with evocative imagery, and the fragile nature of frienship, and the inherent flaws of the conscienceless, then embark on a journey with Zatoichi and you won't be disappointed. This series is literally a gold mine for lovers of cinema, and all the films are to be treasured and watched over and over again. If you are new to the series, then the best place to start are the early films which can be bought through Amazon.com, but this final entry is very watchable and is just as good as its predecessors. It's a shame more are not available in region 2.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2009
I knew the Zatoichi character was a blind,but highly skilled swordsman in fuedal Japan.This is the first offering I watched of the hero's role.Basically,he wanders over Japan,perhaps visiting old friends,but always helping people.In this dvd,he tangles with the deadly yakuza.One of their leaders is planning big,whilst his second in command plots his own agenda.Needless to say,they are not honourable plans.The main yakuza character has his eye,on a pretty,innocent girl.The second in command has plans to take over his leader's clan.This all takes place in a village,where the yakuza make the villagers suffer.Fortunately,Zatoichi is on hand to save the day.His skill with the sword,is unbeatable,especially when he's blind!I've watched other 'Zatoichi' dvds,including the recent release.They have all been very good,including this one.
10 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2009
What a dissapointment ! Older viewers will remember the dark 70s, when every martial art film was cut to ribbons,this film brings back this awful trend.There is nothing worse in a fight scene as two warriors charge each other,as contact is about to begin ,it cuts to the bad guy lying bleeding on the ground.This drives me crazy !This is 2009! This film has an 18 rating!This dvd is now a coaster!To every samurai film lover out there , if you can find an uncut version ,it might be watchable but avoid this 117 mins of poor editing.