HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  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 1637 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 star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: