Zat˘ichi (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi)
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Beat Takeshi Kitano directs and plays the title role in this tribute to the wildly popular "blind swordsman" of Japanese cinema who was the hero of more than 20 movies and a television series from the early '60s to the late '80s. In Kitano's version, Zat˘ichi wanders into a town harassed by criminal gangs, and helps two geishas take revenge on the men who murdered their parents. His mission leads him to a final, bloody confrontation with the gang's mastermind and his hired assassin (Tadanobu Asano), a swordsman with a reputation as lethal as Zat˘ichi. ~ Tom Vick, Rovi

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi begins life as a straight-up samurai movie, evolves into a slapstick comedy and ends as a rousing, tap-dancing musical."
‑ Christy Lemire, Associated Press
"For those unfamiliar with such films, Zatoichi might be a little off-putting. But given a chance, the movie can be pretty entertaining."
‑ Bill Muller, Arizona Republic
"This non-traditional samurai movie isn't for kids."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"Three-frame cuts of the action from multiple camera angles, hose-spurted blood and superimposed wounds do what they can in their primitive way to get you past the problem of improbability."
‑ Jules Brenner, Cinema Signals
"I freely admit that I have not been seduced by Takeshi Kitano's films, no, not even Hana-Bi."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"Zatoichi is a mix-and-match crowd-pleaser that shouldn't add up, but delightfully does."
‑ David Ansen, Newsweek
"This isn't arty violence, just violence, and pretty pedestrian for a samurai picture."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"Violent and bloody, carefully choreographed and filled with dry humor, Takeshi Kitano's modern take on the classic Japanese character is a unique vision that's told with confidence."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Movie Views
"Seen now, sans all the hype and hoopla)...we can gauge Kitano's production for what it truly is - a compelling and quite complex bit of fractured folklore."
‑ Bill Gibron, PopMatters
"The result meanders, but provides a few exciting moments."
‑ Joe Lozito, Big Picture Big Sound
"However improbably, Kitano pulls it off quite gloriously. Admittedly, this isn't one of his most idiosyncratic, innovative or, indeed, satisfying works, but it's without doubt fast, funny, fabulous to behold."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"This is a wonderfully odd movie, proof that an artist can leave his personal stamp on any film, no matter the genre."
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"Zatoichi is a bloody film that also manages to be beautiful and funny."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"Beat Takeshi's take on the Zatoichi storyline is very entertaining and continuously original..."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"Imposing, yet often intimate. Abrasive, but amusing. Arty, but eminently accessible. Bring on the sequel."
‑ , Empire Magazine
More reviews for Zat˘ichi (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi) on Rotten Tomatoes

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