Saturday, June 7, 2014

Zatoichi's Vengeance (1966)

Zatoichi :  Shintarô Katsu

Director : Tokuzo Tanaka 

IMDb : 7.4

Grade :   A


A ronin is hired to attack a man and quickly cuts him down. A gang of men search the body but Zatoichi comes upon them and then cuts them all down. The dying man then gives Zatoichi some money to bring to "Taichi."

Zatoichi then meets a blind monk on the road. The monk makes Ichi think about the way his has been living his life. Zatoichi decides to head to the same town the monk is heading to.

Zatoichi then heads to a town where he meets a boy named Taichi. He gives the money to the boy's grandmother. The grandmother tells Ichi that a boss named Gonzo is moving in to the territory and extorting money from everyone.

When Zatoichi lays down to sleep in the inn owned by Taichi's grandparents, the monk talks to him from the next room. He tells Zatoichi that the sword play he displayed may corrupt Taichi, and ruin him forever. He tells Zatoichi that he must undo the damage he has done.

The Gonzo gang extorts money by doing thing like taking women and making their husbands buy them back. They take Taichi's grandmother and Zatoichi pleads for her, and the men begin to beat him. He lets the men abuse him because he knows Taichi is watching.  Grandma agrees to pay.

Then the Gonzo gang tries to turn the inn in to a gambling house. Zatoichi can't take it and begins cutting the men down and the rest run away. The ronin from the first scene, Genpachiro Kuroda,  looks on and then walks away.

The monk, who is serving as Zatoichi's conscience, then appears and tells him that he has now killed in front of Taichi. 
Ichi: What else could I do?
Biwa Priest: One Hour's cold will spoil seven years of warming. You don't have the sense to understand.
Ichi: I'm not as wise as you are.

Kuroda then goes to a brothel to get his wife, Miss Cho, and bring her home. He asks for her forgiveness. He tells her that he has been searching for her for three years.  She tells him that he was a drunk but now he is just a beggar. She doesn't want to see him ever again.  Kuroda finds out he needs 50 ryo to buy her freedom.

Kuroda goes to Boss Gonzo and tells him he will do anything for 50 ryo. He then displays some remarkable sword play when asked to leave.  Boss Gozo tries to hire him to kill Ichi, but Kuroda having seen Ichi kill seven men, each with a single blow, says 50 ryo is too little for him. Kuroda says that Ichi is of the Muraku school

Zatoich then talks to the biwa priest gain. The priest said that he would have been less than human if he didn't help those people and Zatoichi is confused. 

Kuroda comes upon Zatoichi and the priest while the priest was playing his biwa. Kuroda looked on for a minute and then walked away. Then we find out that Zatoicji only had a normal cane without the sword. 

Gonzo plans to use the thunder drums to hinder Ichi's hearing. They tie up grandma and demand the inn and Zatoichi's cane. Zatoichi frees gandma and chops down about fifteen men, but then Gonzo's men start the drums.  But the drums don't stop the slaughter.

Kuroda then comes on the scene and tells Zatoichi he must kill him for the money. The duel starts and Zatoichi kills Kuroda. Ichi then confronts Gonzo and gets the merchants money back and then he kills Gonzo.

Ichi tells grandma to raise Taichi well and then he heads down the road. 

One of the better movies in the series.

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