Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Zatoichi '89

I recently screened Zatoichi (1989), the last film in the franchise, and I must say for all its flaws, it's still a great piece of matatabi-eiga entertainment. It's also a gory one. Good lord the blood flows in this film! In one sequence, a wicked yakuza boss is skewered by a dozen attackers and gives forth bursts of crimson gore to rival the mother of all blood spurts at the end of Kurosawa's Sanjuro (1962). Shintaro Katsu was in his late 50's when he made Zatoichi, but he's still got the moves, lopping off heads, arms, even noses with his flashing cane sword. There are also plenty of nods to past installments, the film providing a veritable checklist of series tropes and gags. Regrettably, you have to give your money to Tokyo Shock, but just hold your nose as you fork over the dough, knowing that you've got a solid piece of samurai entertainment that you can enjoy over and over again.