So, finally after all the announcing and working to get my work up and online, I sat down to finally watch my latest NetFlix delivery – Zatoichi, The Blind Swordsman.
Oh, hot damn!
The character of Zatoichi is basically Japan’s version of Zorro – there have been many, many movies based off the story. However, unlike the recent Zorro remake, this film was directed by Takeshi Kitano, otherwise known as “Beat” Takeshi (who also played the title character). “Beat” Takeshi is known for his ultra-violent and supercool Yakuza/gangster movies; I’ve heard about his work for years but have never caught any of it. I am now all the more sorry that this was my first “Beat” movie because apparently, I’ve been missing out on some damn fine films.
Zatoichi is as visceral as Kill Bill with its swordplay, as zen as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and as charming as The Quiet Man. It has its roots in good, old-fashioned blood-n-guts samurai movies, but it is the raw emotional impact and the straightforward storytelling of the film that left an impression on me. I never once stopped having a smile on my face from Zatoichi’s bad-ass swordplay to the final “gotcha” scene at the end.
I will reluctantly place Zatoichi back in the mail today for NetFlix to pick up, but it has earned a place in my DVD library.
Has anyone else seen it?
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