Sunday, March 30, 2014

Adventures of Zatoichi (1964)

Zatoichi :  Shintarô Katsu

Director : Kimiyoshi Yasuda

IMDb : 7.5

Grade :   A-

Zatoichi enters a village and a man asks him to do a favor and deliver a letter for him. The town is preparing for a New Years celebration. Ichi delivers the letter to Sen, and then talks to her about finding a place to stay. Two women agree to share their room with him. 

The local gangsters tell the merchants that they must buy a booth for the celebration and they must pay with 40% of their sales. The new intendant,  Gorota Kajima is in league with the yakuza boss, Jinbei.  The merchants are all in trouble.

When the local gangster come for Sen, to get some information about her brother, Ichi keeps them from coming up the stairs. The merchants then tell stories about how Ichi showed them up. 

One of the girls in the room, Saki, is looking for her missing father. He is a local village headsman and had gone on a mission to bring a petition for tax relief to Edo. 

Shinsuke comes to see his sister Sen. He tells her that he is going to kill Boss Jinbei, because Jinbei set him up. he did a job for him, after being promised a promotion, but after he did it the officers were waiting to arrest him. he was sentenced to life on an island for killing a man.

Ichi goes to Boss Jinbei's gambling house to try to double his money. The yakuza are thrilled to see his money. The dice are rolled and Zatoichi calls even but the roller sneaks different dice under the cup, but Ichi slices a die in half and then cuts off the man's topknot where he finds the real dice.

He then tells them that he is Zatoichi (they all know who he is) and he wants to see the boss. Jinbei and Kajimba are playing Go together. Gounosuke, a ronin, pulls his sword and tests Ichi with a strike, which Ichi quickly repels. Ichi then heads on his way.

Ichi then befriends a couple of young acrobats. The local yakuza try to buy Zatoichi off. He is keeping then from getting to Sen and Saki.  When Saki goes out looking for her father, Ichi follows, being led by his two young friends.

The gangsters soon surround Saki, but Ichi comes to the rescue and chases them off,  Gounosuke stops over to challenge Ichi, but he has him for a drink instead.  Gounosuke, who only cares about duelling, says that he and Ichi will fight on New Years morning. 

Ichi meets up with drunk who he buys some sake for. When the man sings a song for Ichi, Ichi gets curious. He asks the old man where he is from and he tells him he is from Ichi's town. He then tells Ichi a story. Eighteen years ago he brought his son to this town to celebrate the new year, and he got separated from the boy and never saw him again. he searched and searched for the boy but couldn't find him and ended up as a drunk in that town. he then tells Ichi his name is Giju. is it his father?

Sen and Ichi bring Shinsuke some food and money. He is still determined to kill Jinbei. Zatoichi castigates him as a fool who just brings grief to his wonderful sister. Ichi and San were followed an Ichi quickly disposes of some of the boss' men but they mortally Shinsuke. He then admits to killing Saki's father for the boss and the intendant. 

Saki then gets a message from her servant that her father is probably dead. Saki doubts him, but then Ichi tells her. 

Ichi asks Giju to take Saki back to her village but they are soon attacked. The two young acrobats tell Ichi that Saki has been taken to the guard station while Giju stumbles around drunk. Ichi thinks about striking him down but he doesn't. 

Ichi then heads over to the guard station. Ichi frees Saki and has the boys take her away. Ichi then begins killing everyone.  Gounosuke then comes out for his match and Ichi chops him down. Ichi then covers his body in a sign of respect.

Ichi then strikes down Kajima,and Jinbei and dozens of their men.

Ichi then heads off down the road alone.

A very good entry in the series.

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