I made it, 26 Zatoichi, The Blind Swordsmen viewed

Discussion in 'Movies & Television' started by transmaster, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. transmaster

    transmaster Addicted Member

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    Finally watched all 26 of the Zatoichi movies with Shintarô Katsu. It was interesting to watch the raise and fall of this franchise, and how it changes as different studio's produced the movies. I was particularly interested in Zatoichi.Meets.Yojimbo (Toshiro Mifune) #20 (1970). Big disappointment I will not give out any spoilers except to say it was like watching 2 different movies at the same time. The movie series was doing great up until about the 15th episode and then is started to peter out, after all how many variations on Zatoichi cutting down bad guys can you have. The original series more or less ended with #25 Zatoichi's Conspiracy where he returns to his home town after 23 years. After having watched the previous 24 the story is very predictable. They tried to revive the series in with Zatoichi (1989) I thought the movie was awful. The movie also had a fatal accident during the filming. A real sword was accidentally used in a sword fight where the blade actually hit the actor/stuntman as a result of the sword stroke that person died. You ask way real swords, if you watch the scenes in any Japanese samurai movie there are scenes where you see sword strokes cutting down bamboo, curtains, spear shafts, etc. Such scenes are done with actual razor sharp swords. It goes with out saying in sword fights flat edged swords are used and the actors wear body armor to keep the bruising down.

    Finally there was Zatôichi (2003) in this remake Takeshi Kitano reprised the roll of Zatôichi, Shintarô Katsu the original had died in 1997. The movie is boiler plate Blind Swordsmen nothing new. This movie does have absolutely the most ridiculous closing, something right out of a Bollywood movie from India. It could be edited out and you wouldn't even miss it.

    Now I am done with Zatôichi what's next? Japanese Kaiju (monster) movies there are about 70 of those. :biggrin:
     
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  2. KingBubba

    KingBubba "Too Much Stuff" Subscriber

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  3. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I can't believe you watched all of those. I've lived in Japan for like eight years off and on since 2000, and I dont think I"ve watched more than two of those. You've already seen the original Lady Snowblood? How about Human Condition with Nakadai? Those are like three hours each and fairly depressing. You could also do the Criterion Collections set of Masaki Kobayashi's samurai movies (Samurai Rebellion, Hara Kiri and Sword of Doom). Those are among my favorite in Japanese cinema.
     
  4. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Super Member

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    Samurai Rebellion is awesome. A bit slow in the middle, but man that scene at the end where Toshiro Mifune's character comes out of the house.

    There is a word we use in iaido where you are 'pressuring' your opponent with your spirit - "kihaku"....man if I saw Toshiro's character coming at me like that I'd s##t my pants, cry, and die of fear on the spot.
     
  5. Imanoldee

    Imanoldee New Member

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    Hara Kiri.
    A great film.
    I first saw it on our local PBS station many years ago when I was a teenager.
    It was the Japanese film that got me interested in the Samurai movie genre.

    Anything with Mifune is good to great.
    Seven Samurai, has to stand near the top if not the top of Samurai films in my opinion.
    The Samurai Trilogy is also very high on my list of best Samurai films.

    Any Akira Kurosawa is worth watching. A true master of film making.
    The Criterion Collection films tend to be good.
    The various versions of the 47 Ronin films, other than that joke with Keanu in it, that is not even the same story line!

    If you are interested in Japanese Historical dramas (Samurai dramas) then see if you can watch any of the old NHK Tiaga Dramas.
    One of our local independent stations used to show these every Saturday.
    I watched most of them from the 80's through the 90's.
    Then the station dropped them.
    The dramas still air on NHK TV. I don't know if they run any in the US though.
    Google 'NHK Tiaga drama' and you will see a wiki page listing. That has some information on them.

    These are basically an approx. 50 week long serials, each with a beginning and an ending.
    They will tell a story of a Samurai Lord or lady or hero, loosely based on a historical figure.
    A word of warning, there is very little if any sword fighting in these dramas.
    They were fun to watch for me.
    I loved the costumes, the sets, the scenery, the intrigue, the beautiful women.

    Edited.
    Sorry for the attached image. It was from a different post.
    I have deleted it.
    I am still learning how to post on this forum.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  6. KingBubba

    KingBubba "Too Much Stuff" Subscriber

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    I finished the 26th about a month ago. It was well worth the time. The latter ones started getting gory, which I think they should have held off on. I just read a recent article that the Japanese government has been whittling away at the Yakusa and the numbers are now down to less that 15,000. The Yakusa was basically the Japanese Mafia.
     
  7. Imanoldee

    Imanoldee New Member

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    I did buy the Zato Ichi collection of films a few years ago.
    However I have not viewed them in order.
    I started watching the Ichi films before college in the mid 70's,
    and since then I have seen some as I found them in libraries in the area.
    So I am not even sure which ones I still need to see.

    I did notice long ago that they got rather formulaic.
    As Transmater said, how many variations can you have?

    Ichi goes to a new (small) village, he gambles (sometimes), he meets a damsel in distress (sometimes),
    he gets on the bad side of the local Yakusa boss, and or evil town leader, (always).
    Then he cuts his way through the bad guys, and leaves the town for his next adventure.
     
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  8. onepixel

    onepixel .

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    Ever watch Blind Fury with Rutger Hauer? That was fun.
     
  9. Imanoldee

    Imanoldee New Member

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    Oh, that was years and years ago.
    Yes, a take off of the blind swordsman.
    The bad guys have no idea they are way out classed, even it is 10:1 or 20: 1. :eek:
     
  10. KingBubba

    KingBubba "Too Much Stuff" Subscriber

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    It was absolutely formulaic in nature, but in a way it was like a haiku in film format that I personally appreciate.
     

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