HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Eve of Destruction
Mad Death, The
Lost in Vagueness
Sleeping Beauty
Allure
In Search of Dracula
Fantastic Woman, A
Emmanuelle II
Far from Vietnam
Inherit the Wind
Post, The
King Frat
Commuter, The
Mister Buddwing
Kiki's Delivery Service
Z-O-M-B-I-E-S
Mansfield 66/67
Old Enough
Bleeding Steel
Double Hour, The
My Generation
Geostorm
Pendulum
Certain Magical Index: The Movie - The Miracle of Endymion, A
That Good Night
Psychopath, The
My Beloved Bodyguard
.44 Specialist, The
Square, The
Boys, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
   
 
  Zatoichi's Revenge Sightless but deadlyBuy this film here.
Year: 1965
Director: Akira Inoue
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Norihei Miki, Mikiko Tsubouchi, Takeshi Kato, Fujio Harumoto, San'emon Arashi, Jun Katsumura, Gen Kimura, Sachiko Kobayashi, Sonosuke Sawamura
Genre: Martial Arts, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Returning to a village from his past, blind gambler swordsman Zatoichi (Shintarô Ichi) is aghast to learn things have taken a turn for the worst. His old masseur teacher was murdered and the man's virginal daughter, Sayo (Mikiko Tsubouchi) has been imprisoned at the local brothel where she and other prostitutes are subject to all kinds of abuse. Ichi's attempt to spring her free is derailed by the arrival of Isoda (Fujio Harumoto), a high ranking official at the Imperial court who enjoys liaising with prostitutes. Forming a fast a friendship with wily dice thrower Denroku the Weasel (Norihei Miki) and his perky young daughter Tsuru (Sachiko Kobayashi), Ichi learns Isoda is helping yakuza Boss Tatsugoro (Sonosuke Sawamura) fiddle his taxes. Unfortunately events force Denroku to choose between helping his friend Zatoichi and protecting his daughter.

Any film franchise reaching its tenth installment is bound to seem a little formulaic. Even though there were plenty of triumphs to come for the Zatoichi series by the time Zatoichi's Revenge rolled into cinemas audiences could practically set their watch by the predictability of the plot. Once again Ichi arrives somewhere he has been before only to find evil afoot. Thereafter he rescues a damsel in distress, befriends a plucky orphan, uses his super senses to score big money at the local gambling den and squares off against a super-skilled adversary. All very predictable. Yet bolstering this stock plot were some high calibre performances, not least from star Shintarô Katsu, along with a set of visuals with an interestingly experimental edge.

Zatoichi's Revenge marks the moment when the series transitioned from stately traditional chanbara in the classic Akira Kurosawa style towards a funkier sensibility paving the way for such hallucinogenic martial arts epics as the Lone Wolf and Cub movies that were of course produced by Shintarô Katsu. Avant-garde editing, black and white flashbacks intercut with present day colour, hand-held point-of-view shots and creative use of both ambient sound effects and eerie, unsettling silence all manage to alleviate the predictable nature of the plot and turn this into something quite compelling. This was only the second movie made by Akira Inoue, a prolific filmmaker active to this day and best known for his cult women in prison movie, er, Women's Prison (1968). Foreshadowing that film Inoue focuses on the suffering and camaraderie among the imprisoned whores. Although the action is nowhere as sleazy or gratuitous as, say, Bamboo House of Dolls (1973), he does not shy away from scenes where they are brutally beaten and abused observed from afar by a justifiably appalled Zatoichi.

Away from the harsher aspects of the plot, Inoue also doles out those lyrical moments of poetry and comedy that make any Zatoichi movie worth savouring. Notably a sequence with Ichi walking through the woods hand-in-hand with young Tsuru. As they duet on a charming folk song he quietly kills a would-be assassin before gently urging her to keep singing. The sub-plot wherein sweet, innocent Tsuru gradually has her eyes opened to the more unsavoury aspects of her father's character yet still loves him enough to steal Ichi's sword prove quietly affecting. Denroku emerges a particularly lively, engaging and faceted supporting player and even gets his own amusing action sequence. Interestingly, for a change the big baddie of the piece Boss Tatsugoro turns out to be a blustering fool as the real brains is his yojimbo (bodyguard) Kadokura (Takeshi Kato). Which leaves it all the more surprising when Kadokura is disposed of so early. This renders the climax, wherein Ichi takes on the entire town single-handed (again, a scene done many times before and set to be repeated many times once more) dramatically lightweight albeit an undeniable triumph of action choreography.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 465 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
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
   

 

Last Updated: