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  Zatoichi at Large [ VCD ]  

Zatoichi at Large [ VCD ]  

Japanese movie : Zatoichi at Large. ซามูไรสะท้านฟ้า. Starring Shintaro Katsu, Rentaro Mikuni, Hisaya Morishige, Etsushi Takahashi.

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Product Descriptions


Zatoichi at Large

Year : 1972

Starring : Shintaro Katsu, Rentaro Mikuni, Hisaya Morishige, Etsushi Takahashi

Director : Kazuo Mori

2 VCDs
Sound : Thai
Runtime : 88 mins

* Playable with DVD and VCD players (world wide )

Story :

Zatoichi at Large features a tightly-woven and often tightly-shot, if unoriginal story lightly peppered with humorous dialogue that borders on self parody. When a gang of yakuza roll into town the cry of "there goes the neighborhood" can be heard from among scattering townsfolk. Worked in among the story of how Ichi fights to protect Oya-e, a pretty young innkeeper desperately awaiting the arrival of 20 ryo from her brother to pay off a debt, are a few side stories. This includes the humorous antics of festival performers being extorted by the yakuza and a widening generation gap between an aged constable determined to stand up to the criminals and his mischievous son, whose fear of losing his father outweighs his respect for the man's principles. Amid all of this is Shintaro Katsu doing what he does best, by playing the humble blind man with a lightning-fast sword strike and Columbo-like inquisitiveness.

When watching this film, it's easy to see why the series was so popular. There's really nothing extraordinary about the movie or its contents, but everything runs so smoothly and naturally that it all feels just right, as if the film had written itself. This, of course, comes with years of working closely with a team of filmmakers to refine one basic premise over and over again. There is, however, one eye-opener as Ichi suckles a newborn infant with droplets of milk on his own nipple, an act that serves to show his pragmatic humanity and provides another measure of humor as he awkwardly struggles to overcome yet another one of life's basic challenges.

The action is not the best of the series, but respectable. Katsu's main opponents are the yakuza thugs and after establishing his superiority over them early on as a teaser of sorts, he gets to take them on fully by the end. As usual, Katsu effortlessly glides among his opponents with tight swipes from his underhand cane sword in long takes. The main fight begins indoors, where his unique sword technique is especially advantageous. Then it moves outdoors and culminates in an almost supernatural fire scene as Ichi emerges from a circle of flame, himself alight, like a demon out of hell. The scene's unearthly impact is perfected with the shocked and frightened look on the ashen face of yakuza boss Tetsugoro, as well played by actor Rentaro Mikuni. This is his second appearance in the franchise after appearing in Zatoichi the Outlaw.

Thrown in almost as an afterthought is swordsman Denjuro, a hired ronin who establishes both his strength and weakness in demanding 50 ryo for Ichi's death. He's clearly superior in skill to his fellow hired thugs, but his arrogance immediately marks him as inferior to Ichi, despite an early encounter between the two that establishes them as being on equal footing. This is a classic chambara scene that really denotes the pecking order of Japan's "martial world." In this case, we see two warriors on a busy street eying each other, figuratively in Ichi's case. Then a quick exchange of single sword strokes happens so fast that no one around them is even aware of what's happening. It's a great scene, but sadly the character of Denjuro is a minor one and only hangs on the fringes until his vow to challenge Ichi is realized moments before the end.


Last updated: April 12, 2017

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