HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Superdeep
Insignificance
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
PG: Psycho Goreman
Maeve
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
   
 
Newest Articles
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
   
 
  Zatoichi Samuraiiii!
Year: 2003
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Tadanobu Asano, Michiyo Ookusu, Taka Gatarukanaru, Yuko Daike, Daigoro Tachibana, Saburo Ishikura, Akira Emoto
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Martial Arts, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Zatoichi, the stoic, blind master swordsman, is a Japanese folk legend and the hero of over 20 samurai movies made throughout the sixties and seventies. After 2002’s beautiful but impenetrable Dolls, Takeshi Kitano has revived the character made famous by Shintarô Katsu, delivering his most accessible film yet, but still touched with moments of ‘Beat’ Takeshi idiosyncrasy.

Despite his amazing prowess with a blade, Zatoichi scrapes a living as a masseur and gambler, wandering from town to town, keeping himself to himself. When he comes to a remote mountain village, he finds a community being held to ransom by the ruthless Ginzo gang, who are demanding daily protection money and have hired deadly samurai Hattori (Tadanobu Asano) to enforce their will. Zatoichi starts lodging with kindly Aunt Oume (Michiyo Ookusu), but is drawn into conflict with the Ginzo gang when a pair prostitutes that Zatoichi and Oume’s nephew Shinkichi (Taka Gatarukanaru) encounter turn out to be an orphaned brother and sister determined to take revenge on those who murdered their parents a decade earlier.

Zatoichi bears strong similarities to Kitano’s 1993 yakuza classic Sonatine. The action is sudden and violent (Sonatine’s nasty realism replaced with cartoonish splatter), the drama is mixed with a curious line in slapstick comedy and there is a gentle, almost hypnotic lull halfway through where the protagonists kill time in a countryside retreat. Kitano puts a surprising amount of emphasis on character – Zatoichi himself remains suitably enigmatic, but the motivations of both his allies and enemies are explored. Tadanobu Asano, who starred alongside Kitano in Nagisa Oshima’s Gohatto, is a reluctant, sympathetic killer-for-hire, carrying out the Ginzo gang’s dirty work to pay for his sick wife’s treatment, while orphans Okinu and Osei’s thirst for vengeance is movingly conveyed by Yuko Daike and Daigoro Tachibana.

Like Tarantino's Kill Bill, Kitano revives the majestical blood fountains from the Babycart movies, and there’s some neat CGI-assisted limb-lopping too. The sword action is excitingly shot and edited, and although it takes a while for Zatoichi to start dispatching his foes, the climatic showdown is well worth the wait. Curiously, Kitano seems to have also been going to through a showtunes-phase when he made this – there are several hilarious scenes of peasants working in the fields, the sounds of their shovelling perfectly in time with the percussion of Keiichi Suzuki’s music, and the whole film ends with an exuberant ten-minute tap-dance sequence – I kid you not. There are no great depths here, just good, bloody, crowd-pleasing fun.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 36243 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Takeshi Kitano  (1947 - )

Japanese director/actor/writer/comedian and one of the best-known entertainers in Japan. Entered showbiz in the early 70s as a stand-up comic, and began acting in the early 80s, his most famous early role being in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. As a director, Kitano's debut was 1989's Violent Cop, a gritty police thriller. The success of this led Kitano to explore similar cop/gangster territory in films like Boiling Point, Sonatine and the award-winning Hana-bi, all of which combined graphic violence, intense drama and off-beat comedy, while Kitano's more light-hearted side was revealed in the likes of the sex comedy Getting Any?, the autobiographical Kids Return and the whimsical Kikujiro.

If 2000's US-set Brother was a disappointment and Dolls visually stunning but hard-going, 2003's Zatoichi was a fast-moving, blood-splattered samurai romp. After a run of personal, financially unsuccessful art films, he returned to familiar territory with the Outrage series. As an actor, Kitano (credited as 'Beat' Takeshi, his comedy-persona) has appeared in films including Battle Royale, Gonin, Johnny Mnemonic, Gohatto and Takashi Miike's Izô.

 
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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: