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Actors: Shingo Katori , Takashi Sorimachi , Satomi Ishihara , Arata , Chieko Baishô , Mike Han , Yoshio Harada , Kôichi Iwaki , Seishirô Katô , Youki Kudoh , Nana Nagao , Tatsuya Nakadai , Kanzaburô Nakamura , Toshio Shiba , Sôsuke Takaoka
Director: Junji Sakamoto
Country: Japan, France
Year: 2010
IMDB Rating: 5.7/10 (174 votes)

A blind master swordsman attempts to lead a quiet life with his wife but he is provoked back into battle.

Film Review

I'm a huge Zatoichi fan. I have been watching the series since I was a kid and own every film that came out on both VHS and later on DVD. Although I'm a hardcore fan I do enjoy different interpretations of the franchise like Kitano's 2003 remake and the Ayase Haruka version – Ichi which was not a rip off, by the way. but a spin off since it tells the story of Zatoichi's student, Ichi. The real rip off was Crimson Bat the blind sword-woman (1969) that was trying to cash in the popularity of the Zatoichi franchise at the time. So okay I watched Shingo's verison of Zatoichi and it indeed different not in a good way. They strayed from the original spirit of the Zatoichi films and frankly I didn't like it. Shingo of SMAP is probably the least appropriate person to do Zatoichi. Shingo's Ichi is too clean shaven and too lanky and does not have the swagger of Zatoichi. Even his acting as a blind man is unconvincing and over done. Zatoichi is a rugged yakuza …

I am a huge fan of the original Zatoichi movies, played by the late great Shintaro Katsu. Anyone who is familiar with his take on Zatoichi, will remember the wandering masseuse with a penchant for gambling, and cutting down hordes of opponents with his lightning fast cane sword. Katsu's Zatoichi was boisterous, funny, lonely but possessing a big heart, always willing to stand up for the little guy. This movie is a very different take from the Zatoichi that most of us are familiar with. Shingo Katori plays him as a family man, with a wife, a home and community to go back to. He is still standing up for oppressed victims, still able to fight against incredible odds. The big difference there is a lack of humor or swagger, not as many fight scenes, mostly a depressing story. The plot is a bit confusing as times, whereas in the original series and movies, the story was simple and straightforward, with clear villains and victims, and a clear path to resolution of conflicts (by killing …