Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman's Revenge (Japan 1965)

Rating: ****
Review Date: 6/4/00
Alternate Title: Zatoichi's Two Sword Style
Cast: Shintaro Katsu

Tenth film in the series.

A straight forward Zatoichi adventure with all the usual elements. Zatoichi returns to the town where his former massage instructor lived, only to discover that he had been murdered two weeks earlier. To make matters worse, the old master's daughter has been forced into prostitution by the town's corrupt officials to pay for her father's debts. None of this settles well with Ichi, and he sets out to solve the murder. Along the way he meets a kind-hearted yakuza dice thrower and his charming daughter, and their friendship is put to the test when Ichi starts to stir up trouble. Eventually Ichi solves the mystery, frees all of the prostitutes, and kills everyone else. Distraught with having shed so much blood, he can't face his friends and is once again on the road.

A good film all around. The story is engaging and the characters are enjoyable. The film also features a great musical score, great cinematography, and some awesome (but bloodless) sword fighting. It's also interesting to see Zatoichi being so selfless when it comes to freeing the mistreated prostitutes, and it's a shock to see him purposely slay the corrupted town leaders (hence the "Revenge" title). Do not piss this man off...