HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Cannibal Club, The
Grasshopper, The
Searching
Human Desire
Climax
Stiff Upper Lips
American Animals
Outlaws
Venom
World on a Wire
Velvet Buzzsaw
Picnic
Dick Dickman, PI
Hunter Killer
30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The
Race for the Yankee Zephyr
Boys in the Band, The
Brainscan
T-Men
Blame
Upgrade
Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, An
Fear No Evil
One Cut of the Dead
Rosa Luxemburg
Disobedience
On the Job
Monsters and Men
Survival Run
Crucible of the Vampire
   
 
Newest Articles
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
   
 
  Zatoichi Samuraiiii!Buy this film here.
Year: 2003
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Tadanobu Asano, Michiyo Ookusu, Taka Gatarukanaru, Yuko Daike, Daigoro Tachibana, Saburo Ishikura, Akira Emoto
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Martial Arts, Historical
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Zatoichi, the stoic, blind master swordsman, is a Japanese folk legend and the hero of over 20 samurai movies made throughout the sixties and seventies. After 2002’s beautiful but impenetrable Dolls, Takeshi Kitano has revived the character made famous by Shintarô Katsu, delivering his most accessible film yet, but still touched with moments of ‘Beat’ Takeshi idiosyncrasy.

Despite his amazing prowess with a blade, Zatoichi scrapes a living as a masseur and gambler, wandering from town to town, keeping himself to himself. When he comes to a remote mountain village, he finds a community being held to ransom by the ruthless Ginzo gang, who are demanding daily protection money and have hired deadly samurai Hattori (Tadanobu Asano) to enforce their will. Zatoichi starts lodging with kindly Aunt Oume (Michiyo Ookusu), but is drawn into conflict with the Ginzo gang when a pair prostitutes that Zatoichi and Oume’s nephew Shinkichi (Taka Gatarukanaru) encounter turn out to be an orphaned brother and sister determined to take revenge on those who murdered their parents a decade earlier.

Zatoichi bears strong similarities to Kitano’s 1993 yakuza classic Sonatine. The action is sudden and violent (Sonatine’s nasty realism replaced with cartoonish splatter), the drama is mixed with a curious line in slapstick comedy and there is a gentle, almost hypnotic lull halfway through where the protagonists kill time in a countryside retreat. Kitano puts a surprising amount of emphasis on character – Zatoichi himself remains suitably enigmatic, but the motivations of both his allies and enemies are explored. Tadanobu Asano, who starred alongside Kitano in Nagisa Oshima’s Gohatto, is a reluctant, sympathetic killer-for-hire, carrying out the Ginzo gang’s dirty work to pay for his sick wife’s treatment, while orphans Okinu and Osei’s thirst for vengeance is movingly conveyed by Yuko Daike and Daigoro Tachibana.

Like Tarantino's Kill Bill, Kitano revives the majestical blood fountains from the Babycart movies, and there’s some neat CGI-assisted limb-lopping too. The sword action is excitingly shot and edited, and although it takes a while for Zatoichi to start dispatching his foes, the climatic showdown is well worth the wait. Curiously, Kitano seems to have also been going to through a showtunes-phase when he made this – there are several hilarious scenes of peasants working in the fields, the sounds of their shovelling perfectly in time with the percussion of Keiichi Suzuki’s music, and the whole film ends with an exuberant ten-minute tap-dance sequence – I kid you not. There are no great depths here, just good, bloody, crowd-pleasing fun.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 34038 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Takeshi Kitano  (1947 - )

Japanese director/actor/writer/comedian and one of the best-known entertainers in Japan. Entered showbiz in the early 70s as a stand-up comic, and began acting in the early 80s, his most famous early role being in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. As a director, Kitano's debut was 1989's Violent Cop, a gritty police thriller.The success of this led Kitano to explore similar cop/gangster territory in films like Boiling Point, Sonatine and the award-winning Hana-bi, all of which combined graphic violence, intense drama and off-beat comedy, while Kitano's more light-hearted side was revealed in the likes of the sex comedy Getting Any?, the autobiographical Kids Return and the whimsical Kikujiro.

If 2000's US-set Brother was a disappointment and Dolls visually stunning but hard-going, 2003's Zatoichi was a fast-moving, blood-splattered samurai romp. After a run of personal, financially unsuccessful art films, he returned to familiar territory with the Outrage series. As an actor, Kitano (credited as 'Beat' Takeshi, his comedy-persona) has appeared in films including Battle Royale, Gonin, Johnny Mnemonic, Gohatto and Takashi Miike's Izô.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: