Zatoichi the Last Reviews
Supposedly the last in the now 29 Zatoichi movies, it's strong neither in lead performance, nor as a reinvention, nor as a competent chanbara film. Shingo Katori has a likeable presence but not the weight, or roguish charm for this long standing character, even the set pieces with him struggling for sound and step to strike out against, while missing footing, might be more realistic in style but it does nothing to play into how ferociously skilled the character should be.There's times he seems to be surviving by blind luck, rather than blind skill.
It's a case of miscasting a too young idol in what should have been a role for heavyweight charisma. There's a few scenes of note, but even the direction of the story makes little sense emotionally, and considering the cast around the center player is so good, this feels like a wasted opportunity and too much of a misstep. Katori is a good actor, but this is not a best suited role. Very disappointed. For the remakes Zaotichi by Kitano in 2003 remains the zenith, while Ichi in 2008 scores higher by at least being brave enough to flip the characters sexuality while remaining faithful to the core characteristics. This, alas, is a poor 3rd.
The sword-fighting seemed decent, with Ichi's iaijutsu less refined and character development emphasized by him lashing out strategically. The usual massage, gambling, and outnumbered fight scenes occur, and it was nice to see them fix and hold off-kilter angles in a manner more authentic than now popular. The one thing that kept distracting me was the soundtrack, which completely oversold every dramatic scene with a built-up drone and blaring chorus. But that said, I look forward to re-watching this with subtitles and perhaps a slightly tweaked audio mix.
Ã§a passe tout seul, c'est drÃ´le et puis au final Ã§a ne fait pas "remake" de la sÃ©rie des Zatoichi, c'est autre chose et c'est trÃ¨s bien !