HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Last Picture Show, The
Pathfinder
Skatetown, USA
Donbass
He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not
Mary Poppins Returns
Beyond the Sky
Sorry to Bother You
Last Days, The
Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story
Once Upon a Time in London
King Lear
Under the Silver Lake
Satan's Mistress
Border
Lemonade Joe
Earth Maiden Arjuna
Sons of Katie Elder, The
Soldier, The
Mr. Topaze
Aquaman
One, Two, Three
Bad Times at the El Royale
Caretaker, The
Old Man and the Gun, The
Song of Bernadette, The
Creed II
Anna and the Apocalypse
Return of the Hero
White Reindeer, The
Lizzie
Wicked, Wicked
Faces Places
Strange Woman, The
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Sky Bandits
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Devil's Sword, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
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
   
 
  Adventures of Zatoichi Your friendly neighbourhood blind swordsmanBuy this film here.
Year: 1964
Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Miwa Takada, Eiko Taki, Kichijiro Ueda, Daimaru, Mikijiro Hira, Gen Kimura, Akitake Kono, Koichi Mizuhara, Ikuko Mori, Rocket Nakata, Teruko Omi
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Martial Arts, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: On his way to Mount Myogi, where he plans to pray to the first light of the New Year, Zatoichi (Shintarô Katsu) is approached by the surly Shinsuke, who is on the run after killing a man. He asks the blind swordsman to deliver a note to his sister, Sen (Eiko Taki), a servant girl in nearby Kasama. Ichi arrives to find the town busily preparing for the New Year festival, with local inns packed with street vendors, acrobats and other entertainers. With a shortage of space, lucky Ichi gets to share his room with some lovely ladies, including Saki (beautiful Miwa Takada, who played different roles in several Zatoichi films), daughter of a local politician who went missing a few days ago. Now the villagers are distraught that the new intendant Goroto Kajima (Akitake Kono) has allied himself with the local yakuza headed by Boss Jinbei (Kichijiro Ueda). Whilst aiding kindly Sen, Ichi realises the man Shinsuke killed was Saki’s father, but also that he may have been set up.

You can always count on Zatoichi to help a damsel in distress. And be kind to kids. And score big money at the local gambling den. And dazzle enemies with his superhuman sword skills. Okay, there are a lot of things you can count on with Zatoichi. Opinion seems somewhat divided as to whether Adventures of Zatoichi, the ninth film in the popular chanbara series, is a rather routine entry or else among the strongest outings for the sightless swordsman. Although its sword-swinging action is confined to the last fifteen minutes, this spins a deceptively simple story that packs a big dramatic punch. A striking pre-credits sequence follows the wind kicking up dust in Ichi’s path. “It’s a good thing I’m blind”, remarks our self-deprecating hero. There is a dual irony in this statement, given Ichi is far more perceptive than most but as the film shows us, his faith in the inherent decency of downtrodden folk sometimes leads him to make mistakes.

In some aspects, Adventures of Zatoichi seems to have been conceived as family-friendly entry in the series, what with the presence of then-popular TV comedians Daimaru and Rocket Nakata as a couple of wisecracking street performers (who memorably mimic Ichi’s facial expressions and sword moves), a chaste romance between Ichi and the doe-eyed young heroine, and the inclusion of Senkichi and Tatsukichi, two charming child acrobats who prove instrumental in helping Ichi save the day. However, the key relationship is between Ichi and Giju, a pathetic old drunk whom the film hints is either Ichi’s long-lost father or else someone that shares a very similar past. Haunted by the resemblance, our hero strikes up a friendship with Giju and tries to salvage his dignity, but the affable old drunk proves an unexpected opponent. Which leads to an emotionally-charged confrontation between an enraged Ichi and a sad old fool who pathetically begs for his life.

Kimiyoshi Yasuda was the resident monster movie specialist at Daiei studios, including Majin (1966) - which also stars Miwa Takada - and 100 Monsters (1968). He also directed five films in the Zatoichi series, including the excellent Zatoichi vs. the One-Armed Swordsman (1971). With Adventures of Zatoichi, Yasuda hits all the usual crowd-pleasing buttons but highlights a fair few shock twists and lyrical moments. A reoccurring theme of these early, more optimistic Zatoichi films is the empathy among humble, hard-working peasant class Japanese and the film surrounds the blind hero with a warm ensemble of memorable characters. The film finds Ichi at his most contemplative, musing on morality and mankind and, after whirling his blade through an army of bad guys, praying before a sunrise he cannot see.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2938 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 do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

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

 

Last Updated: