Hitokiri (Tenchu!) (1970)





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Movie Info

This Japanese historical drama set during the mid-19th century chronicles the attempts of a brave group to restore their beloved emperor to his throne. Unfortunately, an evil villain wants the seat and so hires a warrior to kill the rightful emperor. It works. The wicked new emperor rewards his loyal warrior by placing him in prison. There the distraught and dishonored fighter kills himself. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:


Yûjirô Ishihara
as Ryoma Sakamoto
Shintarô Katsu
as Izo Okada
Yukio Mishima
as Shimbei Tanaka
Tatsuya Nakadai
as Hampeita Takechi
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Audience Reviews for Hitokiri (Tenchu!)


In "Hitokiri," it is 1862 and Izo Okada(Shintaro Katsu), a samurai, is so broke due to inactivity that he is contemplating selling his armor, his land and pretty much anything else that he can. But Takechi(Tatsuya Nakadai), head of Clan Tosa, informs him things about to get interesting. Even though he feels the samurai is too undisciplined to be a killer, he invites him to watch an assassination he has planned. Observing the act in progress, Okada feels he can kill for a living, too, and several months later, he is very successful at his chosen field but still spends most of his time in Kyoto with Onimo(Mitsuko Baisho), a cheap prostitute(her words, not mine). But his old friend Sakamato(Yujiro Ishihara) feels that not only can he do better but his whole country can than this continual internecine warfare between the various clans. Beneath its brutally violent surface, occasionally going over the top(oh, that ending!), "Hitokiri" has plenty to say on the subject of friendship and loyalty, namely that it should run both ways. But even the graphic violence has a purpose, as David Cronenberg has put it, to point out the hideousness of the acts, rather than glorifying them. (Originally reviewed in the blog section on July 10, 2008.)

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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