HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
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
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
   
 
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: The Last A sorry end for the sightless swordsman
Year: 2010
Director: Junji Sakamoto
Stars: Shingo Hatori, Satomi Ishihara, Takashi Sorimachi, Tatsuya Nakadai, Sosuke Takaoka, Arata, Chieko Baisho, Mike Han, Yoshio Harada, Koichi Iwaki, Seishiro Kato, Youki Kudoh, Nana Nagao, Kanzaburo Nakamura
Genre: Drama, Action, Martial ArtsBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Blind swordsman Zatoichi (Shingo Hatori) renounces swordplay for the love of a good woman (Satomi Ishihara). Barely five minutes after he does so, his wife is accidentally slain by a young samurai named Toraji, who was aiming for Ichi. A despairing Ichi returns to his childhood home, a village by the sea where he is sheltered by a friend named Ryuji and his disapproving mother. He also meets Toyo (Youki Kudoh), an old flame now married to benevolent yakuza boss Tatsuji. A new breed of yakuza thugs, led by the swaggering Tendo, begin terrorising local farmers and fishermen. It’s all part of a (frankly obscure) plan for total domination by a senile but brutal feudal lord whose son is none other than guilt-ridden Toraji. After some friends are murdered and Toyo is raped, Ichi sets out to defend the downtrodden, but betrayal and bad luck seal his doom.

Seven years after “Beat” Takeshi Kitano’s quirky and humorous remake, Toho delivered yet another new take on the sightless swordsman, starring former boy band heartthrob Shingo Hatori in the role made famous by Shintarô Katsu. Seemingly influenced by recent humanist samurai dramas like The Twilight Samurai (2002), director Junji Sakamoto downplays the action and puts the emphasis back on character interaction, qualities that were always part of the Zatoichi series, only the tone is excessively somber and sorrowful, taking the trend for demystifying heroes a step too far. Missing in action are those moments of slapstick and tragicomic pathos celebrating the enduring qualities of the human spirit. In their place we have arguably the bleakest Zatoichi film since Zatoichi in Desperation (1973), only nowhere near as accomplished, with a cynical, fatalistic view of human nature as Ichi is betrayed by friends, crippled with angst, and finds his heroic efforts fall short.

Shingo Hatori gives a capable performance as arguably the first Ichi who seems like a real blind person struggling in feudal Japan rather than a superhero. But this new take on the classic character lacks authority and his strangely slapdash swordplay would make more sense were this a prequel and not, as the title implies, an attempt to draw a definitive end to the series. Zatoichi: The Last hits all the familiar notes: Ichi wins big at the local gambling den, defends the downtrodden, squares off against the usual super-skilled opponent. Yet the formula never catches fire, which has less to do with the change in leading man than the directionless and often confusing plot. There is a lack of urgency that further dilutes the drama which is already somewhat maudlin and heavy handed.

Revered actor Tatsuya Nakadai, star of Harikiri (1962) and Ran (1985), essays the lead villain although his plotline confusingly never intersects with Zatoichi until the very end. Samurai film veterans Chieko Baisho and Yoshio Harada also appear in significant roles. The film is very handsomely photographed by Norimichi Kasamatsu whilst the excellent ambient electronica soundtrack enhances its Zen Buddhist atmosphere. Nevertheless, the relentlessly grim and rather awkwardly staged finale provides a sorry send-off for such an iconic character. Fans would be better off with the Kitano film or, better yet, Katsu’s own swansong, Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman (1989).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2154 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 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: