Zatoichi and the Chess Expert

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Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

The great Zatoichi, gambler and ex-samurai extraordinaire, returns in this installment of the Japanese adventure series. This time, the blind warrior makes friends with another fighter/chess-player during a voyage to Honshu island to attend a gambling match on Mt. Fuji. Zatoichi's new friend finds the old master fascinating. The two become involved in adventure when they are set upon by bandits when landing. During the ensuing battle, a young girl is harmed and Zatoichi heads off to right the wrong ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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Mikio Narita
as Tadasu Jumonji
Chizu Hayashi
as Enoshimeya
Gaku Yamamoto
as Tomonoshin Sagawa

Critic Reviews for Zatoichi and the Chess Expert

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Audience Reviews for Zatoichi and the Chess Expert

Another solid entry in the Zatoichi saga, Zatoichi and the Chess Expert is the 12th film and one of multiple crosses and secrets held by it's characters. Nobody is really who they seem and makes for a more entertaining and less predictive than others in the series. There is a lot that viewers of the previous films will find similiar here but the storyline is more fresh and as stated earlier, benefits from it's character's complexities and secrets.

Chris Browning
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

Zatoichi and the Chess Expert reminds you of what a great series this really is. It sticks to the tried and tested formula, but adds unforgettable moments of humanity and emotion. Zatoichi, in a first in the series, make a number of mistakes, reminding us that he is human. He loses a chess match, and for once he isn't trying to deceive his opponent. Then, he gets caught off guard, in a scene that has you genuinely worried about his safety. This scuffle also results in a young girl being hurt. Zatoichi's (usually) flawless trickery when betting also goes wrong and for once he dwells on his mistake. In one scene Zatoichi searches through the mud for a box of medicine he has dropped. We can see the box just to his right, but for the first time you feel as though Zatoichi feels beaten by his blindness. There's something desperate in Katsu's performance that displays a new found vulnerability. We are also lucky to have a fantastic "villain" played by the wonderful Narita. He is an intellectual equal, if not a physical one. They begin a friendship that echoes the one in the first film and Narita even offers to be Zatoichi's bodyguard. If this wasn't enough Zatoichi also becomes involved in a complex romance. It's an excellent film in it's own right, pushing out the violence during the middle of the film, in order to focus on character. The editing also really shines in this film, as we see Zatoichi leave a room and slowly go for his sword as Narita goes for his back inside the room. It's a silent moment of pure tension. As part of the series, it is the jolt that it (being the 12th film in the series) really HAD to be.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

More great Zatoichi action.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

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