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  Zatoichi meets Yojimbo Crossed Swords
Year: 1970
Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Toshirô Mifune, Shin Kishida, Ayako Wakao
Genre: Martial Arts, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Feeling nostalgic for a favourite village, blind swordsman Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) returns there only to become involved with a feud between a father and son who now run the place... and this leads to a confrontation with master samurai Yojimbo (Toshiro Mifune).

There were many Japanese films featuring the blind swordsman, but this is possibly the best known. If you're looking for positive images of disabled people, look no further than Zatoichi, who never lets his visual impairment hold him back. He's a positive image for fat blokes, too. Despite his death dealing ways, he's a curiously life-affirming character, providing the film with much of its humour (and massages). Yojimbo, from the Akira Kurosawa classics, is a worthy opponent for him.

Unfortunately, the swordfights are largely confined to the last half hour of this rambling film. Various events lead to a bloodbath due to most of the characters' preoccupation with money - but the climax is worth waiting for. Wouldn't it have been easier just to keep the gold in the bags? Scripted by the director, Kihachi Okamoto, and Tetsuro Yoshida, and with music by Akira Ifukube.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Kihachi Okamoto  (1923 - 2005)

Veteran Japanese director who used his experiences during the Second World War to shape the outlook and tone of numerous anti-war films, such as 1959's Dokuritsugu Gurentai, and 1968's Nikudan (aka The Human Bullet). Okamoto also directed gangster pictures such as The Age of Assassins (1967) and samurai epics like Sword of Doom (1966) and Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970), frequently casting the great Japanese actor Toshirô Mifune. Okamoto slowed his work-rate afterwards, but still continued to direct for TV and cinema until his death.

 
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