HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
Red Sparrow
My Friend Dahmer
Journeyman
Heat, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
   
 
  Zatoichi's Flashing Sword Beware the blind swordsmanBuy this film here.
Year: 1964
Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Tatsuo Endo, Takashi Etajima, Ryutaro Gomi, Bokuzen Hidari, Jun Katsumura, Naoko Kubo, Ikuko Mori, Mayumi Nagisa, Yutaka Nakamura, Teruko Omi, Koh Sugita
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Action, Martial Arts, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sterling direction and cinematography mark this seventh entry in the popular blind swordsman series. In the unforgettable pre-credit sequence, the camera adopts the point-of-view of a fly buzzing around the sleeping Zatoichi (Shintarô Katsu) till he cleaves it in half! Thus unnerving the surly samurai hitherto giving him evil looks. The story proper begins with Ichi on the run before he is unexpectedly wounded by a cocky, rifle-wielding young punk named Seiroku. He is rescued from the river by kindly Miss Kuni (Naoko Kubo) and her entourage. In gratitude, Ichi intervenes when Kuni’s father, the benevolent Boss Bunkichi has problems with his rival across the river, stuttering, snaggle-toothed Boss Yasugoro (Tatsuo Endo), who wants total control of their joint river-crossing service and hires a pack of rampaging ronin to enforce his will. Further problems arise when Bunkichi’s no-good son returns to the scene, none other than Seiroku, still bearing a grudge against our sightless swordsman.

Zatoichi’s Flashing Sword is an ideal entry point for newcomers to the Zatoichi movies since it lays out all the series tropes before they became stale clichés. It features another charmingly wry and philosophical performance from Shintarô Katsu as the tragicomic hero who routinely plays up his handicap to take villains by surprise. In 1960 Katsu played dual roles as a blind masseur and a criminal imposter who takes his place in Secrets of a Court Masseur. His performance in this otherwise obscure film inspired Daiei studios to create the Zatoichi series, starting with The Tale of Zatoichi (1962). Unique among martial arts heroes, Ichi is equal parts Charlie Chaplin and Toshirô Mifune, kind to small children and pretty girls, prone to practical jokes, humble and polite till he explodes into righteous fury. His adventures are both simultaneously comic and dramatic with plots structured along the lines of vintage westerns: the lone hero rides into town, righting wrongs before moving on.

Goofy but likeable comedy (e.g. Ichi mistakenly ignores a warning from some local kids and falls into a hole; gabs with a mouthful of rice; peeps at a naked woman in the bathtub - whom he obviously can’t see but revels in the thrill nonetheless!) sits alongside some exciting action set-pieces, though the basic plot boils down to yet another variation on Yojimbo (1961) which was itself derived from Dashiell Hammett’s novel, Red Harvest. It is the incidentals that enliven the leisurely plot and provide some novel twists to the formula. Kazuo Ikehiro - who directed another series entry: Zatoichi’s Adventures Overseas (1967) a.k.a. Zatoichi’s Pilgrimage - stages an excellent underwater sequence with Ichi slashing at his opponents like the shark from Jaws (1975). When Ichi reverts into killing machine mode, all traces of the affable clown disappear as Ikehiro’s moody staging imparts an aura of near supernatural dread, one enhanced by an outstandingly ominous score by Sei Ikeno.

Features the classic line: “It’s scum like you that give gangsters a bad name!”

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1107 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
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 film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: