Takeshi Kitano (2003)

18 Certificate


Our Score
Shintaro Katsu may have starred as Zatoichi the blind swordsman in 26 B-movie adventures during the 1960s and 70s, but none of those can match the cinematic panache of this thrilling variation on the traditional themes of duty, honour and championing the cause of the oppressed. Director Takeshi Kitano also takes on the iconic role of the itinerant masseur/swordsman, but his inevitable showdown with the warring clans terrorising the residents of a small town in 19th-century Japan isn't simply a homage to a cult hero. It's a glorious visual scrapbook referencing the greats of Japanese film-making who have influenced Kitano's unique blend of pitiless violence, slapstick comedy and sensitive social detail. Superbly shot and scored, this is both riotous entertainment - witness the tapdancing finale - and exquisite art.


A blind samurai with a talent for massage pitches up at a village and gets embroiled in the feud between two clans, aiding the oppressed residents who hunger for retribution. Revenge thriller, directed by and starring Takeshi Kitano. With Michiyo Okusu and Tadanobu Asano. In Japanese.

Cast & Crew

Zatoichi Takeshi Kitano
Hattori, the bodyguard Tadanobu Asano
Aunt O-Ume Michiyo Ogusu
Hattori's wife Yui Natsukawa
Shinkichi Guadalcanal Taka
O-Sei, the geisha Daigoro Tachibana
O-Kinu, the geisha Yuko Daike
Ginzo Ittoku Kishibe
Director Takeshi Kitano
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Other Information

Language: Japanese +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Artificial EyeGuidance: Violence. Available on: video, DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 19 Mar 2004