• 2003
  • Japan
  • 1h 56min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Takeshi Kitano
  • Cast: Beat Takeshi, Michiyo Ookusu, Taka Gatarukanaru

Having reinvented the cops and yakuzas genre, Kitano makes a stab at doing likewise with the samurai film, and once again slices through conventions like a knife through butter. Here he brings his master strokes to the 19th century Japanese hero Zatoichi, a blind swordsman made famous in the Shintano Katsu film series which ran 1962-89. The new 'Zatoichi' is full of Kitano-style tonal changes between comic and violent, tender and graphic. Meanwhile, the fights become ever more dynamic as Zatoichi, helpinga remote mountain town that's being terrorised by the Ginzo gang, and his nemesis, the ronin Hattori (Tadanobu Asano) who's been hired by Ginzo to enforce his rule, draw closer for the final battle. It's cutting edge stuff.

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