Zatôichi (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi) Reviews

  • Dec 29, 2020

    Incredibly funny as well as quite dark film. Must see for everyone, even it looks quite old still it manage to captivate. The ending is just a MUST SEE.

    Incredibly funny as well as quite dark film. Must see for everyone, even it looks quite old still it manage to captivate. The ending is just a MUST SEE.

  • Nov 22, 2020

    This movie, for its time and now are an example to be followed. You do not need "High speed graphics" nor do you need to understand the full lore, although it does not hurt to study. They used Katana's with real Hamon, which means they were clay tempered....look it up if you do not know. That is one of the most simple examples of how this movie was gr8? The ending included traditional Japanese festivals with characters such as the Hyottoko, and Tengu " My fav," of their lore". Masks at the end of the movie are a small but important feature of their heritage. I am an American and I absolutely covet their belief structure and their culture. I have infinite respect for their Buddhist ways, and how they got there. If America in 2020 could have gotten to where "they" were 600 yrs ago or more, we would be a better people. NO !, we had to drop 2 of the worst inventions of mankind on 2 of their cities. I am not going to type here and "condone" joining Hitler, after all I served in 2 wars myself, but perhaps we should have chosen a different target. This new generation of American, is susceptible to persuasive remarks, with people who have no "HONOR". Honor means so much to those Americans and definitely the Japanese, who want to persevere in a ever changing world, without, dare I say it,"Ignorant" children. I have learned that there is much you can gleam from this film, beyond its 1337 status. The Japanese and their ability to entrance the masses is evident in "Anime" and how hollywood does fight scenes today. I did not capitalize "hollywood" because they might be "Special" by choice.

    This movie, for its time and now are an example to be followed. You do not need "High speed graphics" nor do you need to understand the full lore, although it does not hurt to study. They used Katana's with real Hamon, which means they were clay tempered....look it up if you do not know. That is one of the most simple examples of how this movie was gr8? The ending included traditional Japanese festivals with characters such as the Hyottoko, and Tengu " My fav," of their lore". Masks at the end of the movie are a small but important feature of their heritage. I am an American and I absolutely covet their belief structure and their culture. I have infinite respect for their Buddhist ways, and how they got there. If America in 2020 could have gotten to where "they" were 600 yrs ago or more, we would be a better people. NO !, we had to drop 2 of the worst inventions of mankind on 2 of their cities. I am not going to type here and "condone" joining Hitler, after all I served in 2 wars myself, but perhaps we should have chosen a different target. This new generation of American, is susceptible to persuasive remarks, with people who have no "HONOR". Honor means so much to those Americans and definitely the Japanese, who want to persevere in a ever changing world, without, dare I say it,"Ignorant" children. I have learned that there is much you can gleam from this film, beyond its 1337 status. The Japanese and their ability to entrance the masses is evident in "Anime" and how hollywood does fight scenes today. I did not capitalize "hollywood" because they might be "Special" by choice.

  • Nov 21, 2019

    Pour une fois, Kitano déroge à sa manière de filmer et propose une nouvelle itération des aventures du masseur aveugle Zatoichi. Finies les longs plans fixes, le film est beaucoup plus classique dans sa forme et cela s'en ressent un peu dans la mesure où le rythme du script ressemble beaucoup à ceux des précédents films de son auteur. Kitano est d'ailleurs tout à fait excellent dans le rôle titre, tandis que quelques seconds rôles tirent leurs épingle du jeu. Mais pour une fois, c'est un choix de mise en scène de Kitano (le sang entièrement en CGI et des combats extrêmement sanglants quasi cartoonesques) qui est le principal défaut d'un film qui dure aussi bien 20 minutes de trop, malgré une superbe séquence finale. Zatoichi n'est pas un mauvais film, mais comparé à ce que Kitano nous avait livré auparavant, c'est une petite déception.

    Pour une fois, Kitano déroge à sa manière de filmer et propose une nouvelle itération des aventures du masseur aveugle Zatoichi. Finies les longs plans fixes, le film est beaucoup plus classique dans sa forme et cela s'en ressent un peu dans la mesure où le rythme du script ressemble beaucoup à ceux des précédents films de son auteur. Kitano est d'ailleurs tout à fait excellent dans le rôle titre, tandis que quelques seconds rôles tirent leurs épingle du jeu. Mais pour une fois, c'est un choix de mise en scène de Kitano (le sang entièrement en CGI et des combats extrêmement sanglants quasi cartoonesques) qui est le principal défaut d'un film qui dure aussi bien 20 minutes de trop, malgré une superbe séquence finale. Zatoichi n'est pas un mauvais film, mais comparé à ce que Kitano nous avait livré auparavant, c'est une petite déception.

  • Jesse O Super Reviewer
    Jan 11, 2019

    This is an interesting movie for me to watch. Not only because I watched it before I was done with my review of the previous movie I watched (Underworld: Blood Wars) and it offered me some ways to compare the two in that review. But because I've had the DVD for this movie for quite a fucking while now. I don't know for how long, but it has to be nearing a decade if not more than that. This movie came bundled with another Takeshi Kitano film, Sonatine, which I actually have seen twice through the years. As an aside, Sonatine is a highly underrated and underappreciated gem that I would highly recommend. I think part of the reason that it took me so long to get to this movie (and this isn't even the only DVD I've done this with) is that streaming services, mostly Netflix, took over my life and, much to my own subconscious chagrin, I ignored the DVDs I spent hundreds of dollars on. And, really, some I do not know where some of these DVDs are in all honesty. Regardless, there's something weird in that I don't like to watch movies the same day I buy them. I own the DVD, of course, but I just don't like it. Feels like I spent that money to blow it almost immediately. So there is something to the fact that I like to have it for a while before I do eventually watch it. That way it feels like I got my money's worth. This probably makes sense to, at least, a few of you. But it clearly wasn't my intention to wait as long as I have to watch this movie. Having said all of that, has that decade long wait been worth it??? Yes, you could say that. An emphatic yes actually, because I thought this movie was pretty fucking great all things considered. Zatoichi has had a long and storied history in Japan, with TWENTY-SIX films made and a television series (four seasons with 100 episodes). So to say that Takeshi Kitano (whom I love) had his work cut out for him in terms of producing a movie that did something new while still respecting the 41 year old history (at the point of this film's release) of the franchise is an understatement. I'll be honest, as much as it ruins my street cred, but I have not seen a single Zatoichi movie of the 26 produced. So I cannot say whether or not this stacks up favorably to those films. But, let's be honest, with twenty-six entries in one franchise, a few of them are bound to be clunkers. All I can speak from is my perspective upon having seen this film and I thought it was a great movie with great characters, a lot of humor and strongly choreographed action scenes. I think one of the things that you immediately notice from the movie is how much care is actually put into the characters in this movie. Zatoichi's past is kept purposely mysterious. But Hattori played by Tadanobu Asano, takes a job being this gang's bodyguard in order to care for his ailing wife. Okinu and Osei (the geishas) are after Ginzo/Inosuke for his role in their family's murder. Really, they're after everyone that's involved, it's just that Ginzo was the ringleader. There's a lot of story in this movie, since Ginzo is the right hand-man, as it were, of the head of this gang, who's seemingly on his last legs. A gang that's been terrorizing this village and attempting to take over everyone's turf. There's really a lot going on here, but I do think the movie's narrative is really easy to follow and it never gets confusing in the slightest, which was something that worried me when I saw that the film was handling so many characters all at once. Another thing that I noticed about the movie is the amount of comedy it has. I do not know if the original Zatoichi films contained a lot of humor, but Takeshi Kitano made his name as a comedian in Japan, so it's obvious this film was gonna have some of his trademark humor. One of the funniest scenes, to me, in the entire movie is Shinkichi (who's about as useless as they come) training these dimwits in combat. He does this by going through a rehearsed set of moves that the dimwits are supposed to counter when he moves his stick to the spot they're assigned to. This, naturally, ends up failing and Shinkichi gets hit repeatedly by the dimwits' wooden sticks. This guy can't catch a break. Shinkichi's a really entertaining character. Another thing that really stuck out in my mind, and this is a big one, is how trans friendly this movie is. And I don't really know if Osei, who's a man who prefers to dress as a woman, is trans or if he's just a cross-dresser, but I thought it was really cool that they portrayed Osei in a really positive manner as they tie his dressing up as a woman to what happened to him as a child, being forced to make ends meet after their parents (who were rich) were murdered. To tell that story and to then make fun of Osei for his choices would have felt really contradictory. So, yea, I thought that was really nice. The action is great as well, even if some of the sword CG looks really outdated. And the narrative is a strong one as well, with Zatoichi trying to find out who the leader of the gang is (his face is never seen until the reveal at the end) and how all of the supporting characters are involved in this is really satisfying. In short, that's really the best word movie I can use to describe this movie. It's just a great and really satisfying experience. It's kind of weird to use the term crowd-pleaser in relation to this film, but that's also a great term to describe this movie. I feel like this review sucked mightily, but I can't really complain much about this movie. While I was watching it, I felt that there were some bits that felt aimless, like Zatoichi's first scene in the casino but, upon having finished the film, I feel that everything in this movie filled a purpose and a role. It all leads to the eventual sword fight between Zatoichi and Hattori and how their paths converge, despite Hattori himself not being an evil man. And, of course, Zatoichi discovering who the real leaders of the gang are and getting rid of them, so the village can finally live in peace. I don't know, very few complaints from me honestly, I thought this was a fucking great movie and one that I would easily recommend.

    This is an interesting movie for me to watch. Not only because I watched it before I was done with my review of the previous movie I watched (Underworld: Blood Wars) and it offered me some ways to compare the two in that review. But because I've had the DVD for this movie for quite a fucking while now. I don't know for how long, but it has to be nearing a decade if not more than that. This movie came bundled with another Takeshi Kitano film, Sonatine, which I actually have seen twice through the years. As an aside, Sonatine is a highly underrated and underappreciated gem that I would highly recommend. I think part of the reason that it took me so long to get to this movie (and this isn't even the only DVD I've done this with) is that streaming services, mostly Netflix, took over my life and, much to my own subconscious chagrin, I ignored the DVDs I spent hundreds of dollars on. And, really, some I do not know where some of these DVDs are in all honesty. Regardless, there's something weird in that I don't like to watch movies the same day I buy them. I own the DVD, of course, but I just don't like it. Feels like I spent that money to blow it almost immediately. So there is something to the fact that I like to have it for a while before I do eventually watch it. That way it feels like I got my money's worth. This probably makes sense to, at least, a few of you. But it clearly wasn't my intention to wait as long as I have to watch this movie. Having said all of that, has that decade long wait been worth it??? Yes, you could say that. An emphatic yes actually, because I thought this movie was pretty fucking great all things considered. Zatoichi has had a long and storied history in Japan, with TWENTY-SIX films made and a television series (four seasons with 100 episodes). So to say that Takeshi Kitano (whom I love) had his work cut out for him in terms of producing a movie that did something new while still respecting the 41 year old history (at the point of this film's release) of the franchise is an understatement. I'll be honest, as much as it ruins my street cred, but I have not seen a single Zatoichi movie of the 26 produced. So I cannot say whether or not this stacks up favorably to those films. But, let's be honest, with twenty-six entries in one franchise, a few of them are bound to be clunkers. All I can speak from is my perspective upon having seen this film and I thought it was a great movie with great characters, a lot of humor and strongly choreographed action scenes. I think one of the things that you immediately notice from the movie is how much care is actually put into the characters in this movie. Zatoichi's past is kept purposely mysterious. But Hattori played by Tadanobu Asano, takes a job being this gang's bodyguard in order to care for his ailing wife. Okinu and Osei (the geishas) are after Ginzo/Inosuke for his role in their family's murder. Really, they're after everyone that's involved, it's just that Ginzo was the ringleader. There's a lot of story in this movie, since Ginzo is the right hand-man, as it were, of the head of this gang, who's seemingly on his last legs. A gang that's been terrorizing this village and attempting to take over everyone's turf. There's really a lot going on here, but I do think the movie's narrative is really easy to follow and it never gets confusing in the slightest, which was something that worried me when I saw that the film was handling so many characters all at once. Another thing that I noticed about the movie is the amount of comedy it has. I do not know if the original Zatoichi films contained a lot of humor, but Takeshi Kitano made his name as a comedian in Japan, so it's obvious this film was gonna have some of his trademark humor. One of the funniest scenes, to me, in the entire movie is Shinkichi (who's about as useless as they come) training these dimwits in combat. He does this by going through a rehearsed set of moves that the dimwits are supposed to counter when he moves his stick to the spot they're assigned to. This, naturally, ends up failing and Shinkichi gets hit repeatedly by the dimwits' wooden sticks. This guy can't catch a break. Shinkichi's a really entertaining character. Another thing that really stuck out in my mind, and this is a big one, is how trans friendly this movie is. And I don't really know if Osei, who's a man who prefers to dress as a woman, is trans or if he's just a cross-dresser, but I thought it was really cool that they portrayed Osei in a really positive manner as they tie his dressing up as a woman to what happened to him as a child, being forced to make ends meet after their parents (who were rich) were murdered. To tell that story and to then make fun of Osei for his choices would have felt really contradictory. So, yea, I thought that was really nice. The action is great as well, even if some of the sword CG looks really outdated. And the narrative is a strong one as well, with Zatoichi trying to find out who the leader of the gang is (his face is never seen until the reveal at the end) and how all of the supporting characters are involved in this is really satisfying. In short, that's really the best word movie I can use to describe this movie. It's just a great and really satisfying experience. It's kind of weird to use the term crowd-pleaser in relation to this film, but that's also a great term to describe this movie. I feel like this review sucked mightily, but I can't really complain much about this movie. While I was watching it, I felt that there were some bits that felt aimless, like Zatoichi's first scene in the casino but, upon having finished the film, I feel that everything in this movie filled a purpose and a role. It all leads to the eventual sword fight between Zatoichi and Hattori and how their paths converge, despite Hattori himself not being an evil man. And, of course, Zatoichi discovering who the real leaders of the gang are and getting rid of them, so the village can finally live in peace. I don't know, very few complaints from me honestly, I thought this was a fucking great movie and one that I would easily recommend.

  • Jun 26, 2018

    One of those rather crazy japanese films that is quite hard to access. The crux of the story is pretty much lost. Also I generally don't like movies that end with a group dancing scene. I'm looking at you, Ice Age 3.

    One of those rather crazy japanese films that is quite hard to access. The crux of the story is pretty much lost. Also I generally don't like movies that end with a group dancing scene. I'm looking at you, Ice Age 3.

  • Jun 07, 2018

    Zatoichi is a bloody film that also manages to be beautiful and funny. - Movie Metropolis

    Zatoichi is a bloody film that also manages to be beautiful and funny. - Movie Metropolis

  • Sep 25, 2016

    Renaissance Man Takeshi "Beat" Kitano brings his vision of Zatoichi to life in this appropriate reboot of the long-running series. While Shintaro Katsu will always be Zatoichi to me, Kitano's film has exciting action sequences and well fleshed-out characters. Like the Katsu films, Zatoichi stoically carries out his personal code, destroying evildoers and showing compassion to the downtrodden. While the CGI is a little dubious and the soundtrack sometimes anachronistic, Zatoichi jubilantly plays with the expectations for an action film (I know of no other action movie that ends with a tap-dance sequence). Tadanobu Asano, playing the villain's bodyguard, electrifies all his scenes with his awesome screen presence, as usual.

    Renaissance Man Takeshi "Beat" Kitano brings his vision of Zatoichi to life in this appropriate reboot of the long-running series. While Shintaro Katsu will always be Zatoichi to me, Kitano's film has exciting action sequences and well fleshed-out characters. Like the Katsu films, Zatoichi stoically carries out his personal code, destroying evildoers and showing compassion to the downtrodden. While the CGI is a little dubious and the soundtrack sometimes anachronistic, Zatoichi jubilantly plays with the expectations for an action film (I know of no other action movie that ends with a tap-dance sequence). Tadanobu Asano, playing the villain's bodyguard, electrifies all his scenes with his awesome screen presence, as usual.

  • Apr 22, 2016

    Repeated periods of calm, ruptured by swift bursts of blood, with an off-beat sensibility and even some Bollywood flair. Brace yourself for the gore and you'll find justice restored and an accepting balance.

    Repeated periods of calm, ruptured by swift bursts of blood, with an off-beat sensibility and even some Bollywood flair. Brace yourself for the gore and you'll find justice restored and an accepting balance.

  • Mar 20, 2016

    While I have not seen any of the classic films to make a fair comparison (nor am I super familiar with Takeshi Kitano's work), I can say that he made a fun little flick that has the right balance of poised samurai flair and a cute musical sense of humor to give the film a jolt of energy. Though it's nothing to write home about, you could do far worse to pass the time if all you're looking for is good old fashioned "rule of cool".

    While I have not seen any of the classic films to make a fair comparison (nor am I super familiar with Takeshi Kitano's work), I can say that he made a fun little flick that has the right balance of poised samurai flair and a cute musical sense of humor to give the film a jolt of energy. Though it's nothing to write home about, you could do far worse to pass the time if all you're looking for is good old fashioned "rule of cool".

  • Sep 13, 2015

    Poor, amateurish acting. Horrible effects. Lame humor. I don't see why this movie gets good reviews. Perhaps most watch with their eyes closed, mimicking the protagonist?

    Poor, amateurish acting. Horrible effects. Lame humor. I don't see why this movie gets good reviews. Perhaps most watch with their eyes closed, mimicking the protagonist?