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22 Reviews
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest films of all time.
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...
Published on 1 Feb 2005 by geocyte2000

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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.
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...
Published on 12 Jan 2010 by Mr. H. C. Orr


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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 6 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Zatoichi - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Japanese with English subtitles, but mostly drama and bursts of action without huge amounts of dialogue. One of the most compelling and beautifully filmed movies that I've seen for many months. Occasionally tricky to follow the non-linear plot, which has a few flashback scenes to past events in characters' lives, but it all makes sense eventually. Zatoichi is a famous blind Samurai character from Japanese movie history, although this film is a stand-alone and does not reference past releases which were all created a generation earlier - somewhat like the UK gets regular remakes of the Robin Hood or King Arthur legends every few years. The film's director also played the lead role and is a major star in his homeland, plus has made several appearances in Hollywood too. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic tale with Takeshi's touch., 13 May 2009
By 
Cub Tiger (Kwang Tung (UK)) - See all my reviews
This film is great! The action is frequent and bloody but directed in such a way that it is very accessible for others who find films like 'Kill Bill' a bit much. The story is nothing to write home about. I think pretty much every story line possible has already been covered in countless other 'Zatoichi' films before this. What this film does is inject some serious class into an old formula. All of the 'Kitano' trademarks are there to please fans of his work and create a really enjoyable film. If you like Samurai films then this is an absolute must see!
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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
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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
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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
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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
By 
Mr. T. Mc Brearty "Loftytom" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
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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
By 
Ian Williams "ianw" (Sunderland, UK) - See all my reviews
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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. I suspect it's this transgressive subplot which earned the film the 18 rating rather than the stylised violence and bloodshed which is always fast and furious and never lingered over.

I much mention the final sequence which is completely at odds with everything that went before. It is a massive and hugely enjoyable percussion-led dance sequence by a famous Japanese tap dance troupe plus the few surviving main characters. Zatoichi, however, is back on the road.

The cover art is very much in the style of graphic novelist Frank Miller though, as there is no credit on the box, it may not be him.

All in all, a highly enjoyable film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Clint Eastwood with a stick, 4 Oct 2013
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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. I hope Japan makes an English version before Hollywood gets hold and ruins the whole concept.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clever!, 29 Sep 2013
By 
D. Cooke (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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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.. It could quite easily have just been a corny martial arts film, thankfully it wasn't, it had a story, nice twists, was well acted and nothing seemed (too far) over the top. It had an unusual end scene involving (almost!) the whole cast but I liked that. Will not spoil anything here but if you like martial arts films with a good story, decent acting and non slapstick humour then give this one a go, its a watch again film.
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Zatoichi - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray]
Zatoichi - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray] by Takeshi Kitano (Blu-ray - 2014)
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