The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi - Rolling Stone
×
×
Home Movies Movie Reviews

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi

Maybe you know nothing about Takeshi Kitano. If so, you’re missing out big-time. A legend in Japan as director, screenwriter and editor of brutal, brilliant crime films, notably Hana-Bi and Sonatine, he is also an actor who works under the name of Beat Takeshi, derived from his days as half of the comedy act the Two Beats. p>itano is known for throwing curves, and he throws a doozy in The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi, a film that Miramax is determined to make his breakthrough hit in America. No argument here. The movie is a blast of ferocious energy and offbeat laughs, with a constant splatter of computer-generated blood and a body pileup to rival both volumes of Kill Bill. Kitano throws everything at this nineteenth-century samurai tale, including a climactic tap-dance number. The real surprise is Beat taking on the role of Zatoichi — the blind masseur with a sword hidden in his walking stick is an iconic figure in Japanese film and TV, as played by Shintaro Katsu. But Beat makes the character his own with a blond Iggy Pop dye job and wicked mischief flickering under his hooded lids. The plot, in which Zatoichi helps a sister and her cross-dressing brother — both posing as geishas — avenge their family honor is merely a convoluted excuse to let Kitano do his thing. He’s a riveting spectacle. So’s the movie.

Newswire

Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.