18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A samurai movie to get your feet tapping,
This review is from: Zatoichi  [DVD] (DVD)
A film about loss. Zatoichi is a blind samurai roaming the country in the guise of a masseur, the cane with which he taps his way along acting as the scabbard to a razor sharp sword. In this film, we have him meeting up with a vicious gang of cutthroats who run a protection racket in a village; they've hired a ronin, a masterless samurai, who quickly disposes of the rival gang, single-handed. He recognises the skill of the blind Zatoichi. Sooner or later they must confront one another. The ronin has lost his honour, his wife has lost her health.
Enter a wandering pair of geishas, two young women who have lost both their childhood and their innocence. They are intent on revenge and are hunting down people who have wronged them. And then there's the gambler, who loses everything in the gaming room, including his self-respect ... until Zatoichi comes along.
It's a beautifully enigmatic plot, with lots of tributes to Kurosawa's samurai epics - especially Yojimba. All the characters suffer loss - of sight, of identity, of family, home, their mind ... and, of course, life. The body count is huge, without the slaughter becoming too visceral or gory. The action sequences are beautifully choreographed and the soundtrack wonderfully syncopated - watch out for the rhythm sections ... and the climactic tap dancing scene! And throughout, while the tension is built, stage by stage, there are visual and audio gags to make you laugh out loud.
This is a beautifully observed and well directed movie, with characters who'll capture your attention and your emotion, and a well-paced plot which will keep you glued to the screen.