The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Director Takeshi Kitano takes on Japanese cinematic legend Zatoichi. Kitano stars as the blind wanderer with a distinctive red cane and a shock of platinum blonde hair. Softly-spoken, he makes a living as a masseur and by gambling, but his humble, shuffling facade masks a lightning-fast, deadly swordsman. (Miramax) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. A masterpiece of wry violence and stylized mayhem, The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi turns loose one of Japan's most brilliant film auteurs, Takeshi Kitano, on one of its most enduring pop legends.
  2. A boisterous and improbably entertaining action comedy.
  3. Reviewed by: Walter Chaw
    80
    Although Zatoichi may disappoint some Kitano purists, who might think it a vanity piece or submission to popular taste -- he's even begun moving his camera -- its pyrotechnics are still audacious and breathtaking.
  4. The movie, quite simply, goes to sleep whenever Zatoichi isn't fighting. When he is, it's a pulp dazzler.
  5. 75
    Because Kitano also wrote and directed the movie, Zatoichi also features all kinds of beguiling, if admittedly bizarre, subplots and forays into nonsequitur territory.
  6. 70
    Like Ang Lee's "Hulk," it's a fusion of arthouse and multiplex instincts, and though it seems unlikely to satisfy anyone, it's just as unlikely that anyone who sees it will forget it soon.
  7. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    50
    What saves Zatoichi is that it ends -- for no clear reason -- with a foot-stomping ensemble dance number that is both delightful and unhinging: It sends you home with spasmodic giggles, convinced this Japanese imp has discovered a new path to your unconscious.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Riren
    Jan 30, 2007
    10
    An unflinching revival of the Zatoichi series, this movie requires no knowledge of prior films, or even Japanese film history - though every drop of knowledge helps. All you really need to know is that this is an expert's product in the new kind of film, that which will do whatever it wants whenever it wants. What Zatoichi does that others fail at is earn at or amuse with everything it decides to do, from dance scenes to fight scenes, from innuendo to philosophy. It's not as pretty as Hero or Curse of the Golden Flower, nor are its actors as internationally recognizable - but it is considerably better at doing almost everything that those two movies do, short the wire teams. Give it a try, and bring your friends. Expand
  2. JamesM
    Dec 11, 2005
    10
    Takeshi Kitano's masterpiece. You must see this film.
  3. Nov 22, 2013
    7
    The story could be better developed since there are pacing problems, needless secondary characters and a guy who behaves like a geisha. However 'Zatoichi' has a cool protagonist, a dangerous villain and bloody, realistic action. Moreover the acting is good, there are several intense moments and the ending will satisfy your need for retribution.
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See all 14 User Reviews