Japanese Western Meets American Western Meets Irish River Dance

zatoichi image

Traditional Japanese Samurai Cinema films feature an Ichi theme. Ichi means “masseur, a man who practices massage and physiotherapy.” In Japanese period films this also means “blind man, also a master of combat via cane sword” as well as “paladin, a legendary hero.

Heroes defend those who cannot defend themselves against those who seek to take advantage of the weak. Ichi and other Samurai Cinema films are a kind of Japanese Western along the lines of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Clint Eastwood’s A Fistful of Dollars.

This particular Ichi film that I am reviewing is shot in traditional Japanese Period style (including Japanese voice and English subtitles) but also including contemporary American multi-cultural influences such as the dances at the end. This version got “Two Thumbs Up” from Ebert & Roeper. Give this one a try by: putting it on hold from your local library, borrowing a copy from a friend, or *shudder* buying it online.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zatoichi (2003_film)
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Blind-Swordsman-Zatoichi-Sonatine/dp/B0002W4TOO/
PS. This version is also recommended by the inventor of the term Cyberpunk, William Gibson.

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