Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold

Bomb Rating: 

Okay, I'm not going to review every Zatoichi film because there are like 1,000 of them, but the Japanese Crankylanders have been threatening to riot for three years now, and I just want to shut them up.

For those of you who don't know, Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu), the blind swordsman, is a cultural icon in Japan, having been featured in dozens of films and over 100 television episodes, which means that he's almost had as much media exposure as Ichiro. If you remember the Rutger Hauer film "Blind Fury" from the 1980s, you now understand where those filmmakers stole their material. You probably also remember that film was bad. A swordsman who's blind, you say? How can that be?

Well, his zen or chi (or whatever foo foo Japanese mystical power he's using) is working overtime. He may not be able to see, but he just seems to sense with his sword. In this film, Zatoichi is accused of stealing the tax payment for a group of farmers. In order to clear his name, he must recover the money and fight off the unjust intendant who's bilked the farmers out of their money.

As this is the sixth film in the series, things have already begun getting silly. Zatoichi just starts ending up in places with absolutely no explanation. After the chest is dropped down a hill, some robbers sent to retrieve it turn around and Zatoichi is suddenly sitting on it. Later, a woman goes to take a bath and suddenly Zatoichi comes up out of the water like Rambo with this very disturbing shit-eating grin on his face. And usually, Zatoichi's fights are over faster than most people can get their swords up. You'd think that after his reputation spread, somebody would throw a rock at his head or smack him with a pole while he was sleeping, but his challengers always seem to want to draw swords.

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