Zatoichi's Flashing Sword (Japan 1964)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 5/28/00
Cast: Shintaro Katsu

Seventh film in the series.

A young man attempts to kill Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) with a gun, but he is rescued by a kind and beautiful woman. When he goes to visit her in order to repay her kindness, he once again gets stuck in the middle of a clan feud. After an evil rival clan attacks Zatoichi's kind hosts in order to seize control of certain ferry rights, Zatoichi takes it upon himself to avenge his dead friends. Not surprisingly, the conflict is finally resolved once everyone has tasted death from Ichi's blade. The story structure is a little shaky at the beginning and the end of the film, but Zatoichi's endearing charm and blazing swordplay makes up for it. The sword fighting is once again marvelous, and some interesting cinematography is employed in this entry. We also start to see more blood and nudity creeping into the series, making for even more shocking combat sequences.