Zatôichi (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi) (2003)
Critic Consensus: Colorful, rich with action and wonderfully choreographed, Takeshi Kitano takes on the classic samurai character with his own brand of cinematic flair.
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as Aunt O-Ume
as Geisha O-Sei
as Geisha O-Kinu
as Gennosuke Hattori
as Boss Ogi
as Tavern Pops
as Lord Sakai
as Dancing Farmer
as Dancing Farmer
as Yakuza Boss on the Country Road
as Rival Swordsman
as Ginzo's Henchman I
as Boss Funahachi
as Dice Dealer at Funahachi's Joint
as Funahachi's Bodyguard
as Young O-Kinu
as Young O-Sei, aka Seitaro
as Playboy at Home
as Kuchinawa Underling 1
as Kuchinawa Underling 4
as Kuchinawa Underling 5
as Kuchinawa Underling 2
as Kuchinawa Underling 4
as Tavern Customer 4
as Farmer Boy 1
as Farmer Boy 2
as Farmer Boy 4
as Farmer Boy 5
as Farmer Boy 6
as Farmer Boy with a Spear
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Critic Reviews for Zatôichi (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi)
The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi begins life as a straight-up samurai movie, evolves into a slapstick comedy and ends as a rousing, tap-dancing musical.
Zatoichi is a mix-and-match crowd-pleaser that shouldn't add up, but delightfully does.
However improbably, Kitano pulls it off quite gloriously. Admittedly, this isn't one of his most idiosyncratic, innovative or, indeed, satisfying works, but it's without doubt fast, funny, fabulous to behold.
For those unfamiliar with such films, Zatoichi might be a little off-putting. But given a chance, the movie can be pretty entertaining.
This isn't arty violence, just violence, and pretty pedestrian for a samurai picture.
This is a wonderfully odd movie, proof that an artist can leave his personal stamp on any film, no matter the genre.
Audience Reviews for Zatôichi (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi)
A very fine samurai movie that we can easily appreciate for its formal rigor (especially with such a great cinematography and score), than to enjoy, since its narrative structure suffers from being a bit overplotted and has too many characters in constant fight for screen time.
By all means, I am no fan of the genre of the Samurai swordsman, but I can still expect more than slow story-telling, wooden acting and unfunny slapstick. It doesn't help that the swords, wounds and the gushing blood are computer animated and you see it. Sure, the film doesn't take itself too seriously, but it's still plain boring at times. Given the mostly positive reviews I expected a lot more but this did not work for me on any level. Maybe it's the Western world viewing expectations, maybe it's me. Maybe the film is just crap, though. I gave up after an hour.
'Beat' Takeshi Kitano made his name as a standup comedian before entering into cinema with a surprising array of serious and very violent roles. Here he tries to recapture the successful character who was a popular figure in Japanese film & television throughout the 1960's to the 1980's. Nineteenth-century blind nomad known as a gambler and masseur is also a lightning-fast master swordsman who stumbles into a town run by gangs and a powerful samurai. When he meets two geishas who are out to avenge their parents' murder, the fireworks begin. I've never seen the very successful series of films or television program of which this is based upon, so i'm not in a position to compare but it doesn't hinder the enjoyment of this visceral yet playful bloodfest. Kitano stages the whole yarn in a very theatrical style, with extremely exagerrated bloodletting, combined with an excellent soundtrack to fit with the rythmic moments and movements from the characters, like workers plowing the fields or rain pattering off an umbrella. It's beautifully shot and really captures the ingriguing Japanese culture with several stunning shots. As much as I admire the almost mystical and stoic tradition of the Japanese, I'm not the biggest Samurai fan, so the whole thing worked for me only to a certain degree. However, if your a fan of swordplay, then this will be right up your kimono. There's no denying the visual style throughout this serene yet kinetic bloodbath. It's like an eastern spaghetti western, but if your not interested in the genre then harikari may be a better option for you.
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