Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman (1971)
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Audience Reviews for Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman
In this 22nd Zatoichi film, Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman is another great showdown introducing another legendary character who not being able to understand each other, ultimately leads to tragedy. The One-Armed man is played by Yu Wang and his martial artist abilities are a welcome addition as it adds some more variety to the battle sequences. This film must have one of the top body counts, as both Zatoichi and the One-Armed man go on a massive killing spree against all the corrupt samurai and lay waste to everyone who does evil. Ultimately it leads to a final showdown between the two and as Ichi says after the duel "If only we could understand one another's words, we wouldn't of had to fight one another". This film is an extremely violent and blood soaked film with tons of awesome battle scenes and some awesome death shots, it is also a good moral lesson.
Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman is better than Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo. It doesn't feel the needs to needlessly inflate Wang's role. It adds a new visionary style as Wang's martial arts and fighting skills are very different to those we have seen before. It makes his scenes more exciting and his battle with Zatoichi interesting and unpredictable. Plenty of limb lopping and some emotional investment. The best thing about this film is the confrontation where neither Zatoichi, nor Wang is the villain. It doesn't chicken out from giving us a decent ending either.
On his travels, blind swordsman Zatoichi stumbles across a massacre and takes in a small boy who witnessed the event. When the killers come looking for him, Zatoichi and family friend Wang Kong or "the one-armed swordsman" pledge to defend the child at all costs. Although this installment in the long running franchise has a rather gimmicky premise, its combination of frenetic action scenes and an atmospheric historical setting makes for a good, solid samurai movie. Shintaro Katsu shifts from affable booze hound to intimidating bad ass with the greatest of ease; the scene when he rescues a local girl from the assassins is fantastic. Despite its attempt to ape the master, it's no Kurosawa as technical limitations mean a couple of scenes are so dark it's difficult to tell what's going on and the moral message at the end felt forced. But as a whole it's a very enjoyable blood & katana flick that won't disappoint fans of the genre.
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