Zatoichi (2003)

 Zatoichi (2003)

Director: Takeshi Kitano

Writer: Takeshi Kitano, based on novels by Kan Shimozawa

Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Tadanobu Asano, Michio Tasuda, Taka Guadalcanal, Daigoro Tachibana, Yuko Daike, Yui Natsukawa

I wanted to love Beat Takeshi's reimagining of the popular Japanese hero Zatoichi, but it just didn't stand up to the original. 

Unfortunately, I found it to be overpopulated with sketchily drawn characters. 

In addition, I could not identify a good reason for some important actions on the part of several characters, which I can't get into without revealing key plot points. 

Some reviewers disliked the percussive, almost musical segments, but I found these to be a strength of the film. 

I had heard about these segments in reviews and was looking forward to them but even here, although I did enjoy them, I was also disappointed. 

I expected and wanted them to be presented as Zatoichi's personal experience of the world; such a unique recognition of patterns and rhythms in everyday life would go a long way toward explaining his prodigious skills and awareness as a blind man as well as the state of perpetual amusement he seems to be in. 

Instead, they were simply presented as musical numbers for the audience to enjoy. 

I did enjoy them, but it seemed like a lost opportunity. 

Other strong points of this film were the sudden, explosive action scenes and Takeshi's stolid, quirky performance.


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