Zatoichi The Outlaw (1967)
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Critic Reviews for Zatoichi The Outlaw
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Audience Reviews for Zatoichi The Outlaw
One of the darkest of the Zatoichi outings. By now the Zatoichi series had fallen into a standard formula, however, this film steps outside that formula plunging Zatoichi in grim circumstances that he, himself created. I guess those who are used to modern flash cuts and constant action, might find the pacing a bit slow, but those who appreciate deliberate pacing with story and character development will be right at home.
A very hard film to rate as often it feels like many films combined. Some good, some terrible and some brilliant. The pacing was the biggest turn off for me, speeding through some sections and then wallowing on others. The first half of the film is the same as any other Zatoichi film, but it even feels like a remake. We have one very interesting character that arrives and both compliments and rivals Zatoichi. This character is a samurai that refuses to carry a sword. This samurai also inspires vilages to give up on gambling and whores, and to focus on the harvest. He is Zatoichi but without the violence. As it turns out it is Zatoichi's violence that is needed in the end and so we are treated to some excellent metaphors and deep thoughts. In the middle was some of the most uncomfortable slapstick I've ever seen. It was obvious and obnoxious and just didn't feel like part of the film. After this, it then becomes the darkest Zatoichi film, with suicides, decapitated heads and Zatoichi going into crazed killer mode. The ending is great, but to contrast this darkest of endings with the lightest of slapstick was just uncomfortable. In the end we have the most "humourous", most violent, most repetitive Zatoichi film, with some deep themes and glimpses of originality. The right ingredients, but the wrong amounts.
Shintaro is funny, the movies are a bit slow sometimes, but if you pay attention it's fun to watch.
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