The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

NEW TALE OF ZATOICHI (1963) ***

Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) meets an old friend while traveling on the road. They get robbed, and Zatoichi follows the thieves and kicks their ass. One member of the clan already wants revenge on Zatoichi (for killing his brother in the last movie) and he tracks him down and challenges him to a fight. Zatoichi’s old master breaks it up and invites Zatoichi to stay with him. But things get complicated when Zatoichi falls in love with his master’s sister.

New Tale of Zatoichi is notable for being the first Zatoichi movie in color. (I miss the moody black and white cinematography from the previous entries though.) The themes of honor and revenge that permeate the series are just as strong in this tale. The swordfights are quite good too, and I enjoyed Zatoichi showing off his expert skills (like the scene with the candles). I also liked the part where Zatoichi chose not to fight in public (he didn’t want innocent people to get hurt), only to come back later and settle the score in private.

But after a great set-up, New Tale of Zatoichi sorta twiddles its thumbs too much in the second act. And it’s kind of hard to believe that Zatoichi would accept a marriage proposal from his master’s sister when he turned down (much) better offers from other (hotter) women in the last two films. Because of that, their romance doesn’t quite click; and it feels more like a plot contrivance than a real love affair. Those romantic missteps aside, New Tale of Zatoichi is still pretty good. It isn’t as strong as many of the other films in the series, but it remains a solid samurai flick.

AKA: Zatoichi Enters Again. AKA: Zatoichi: The Blind Man’s Return.

Tags: action, n, sequel, zatoichi series
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