The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
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ZATOICHI ON THE ROAD (1963) ***

After roughing up some gamblers for trying to cheat him, Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) heads out on the road. He finds a dying man who pleads with him to return a young girl named Omitsu (Shiho Fujimura) to her home. A woman (Reiko Fujiwara) out to avenge her husband’s death at the hands of Zatoichi, tells Omitsu that Zatoichi is a killer, causing her to run off. It’s then up to Zatoichi to rescue Omitsu from the clutches of a lecherous samurai clan.

Zatoichi on the Road offers up some fine samurai action right from the get-go. There are a couple of great swordfights in the beginning, which should tide you over during the plot-heavy second act. But while the middle section of the flick is light on action, it’s still pretty entertaining thanks to the rapport between Shintaro Katsu and Shiho Fujimura.

And the strong female performances are one of the best things about the film. Fujimura is quite good as the innocent damsel in distress and Reiko Fujiwara is excellent as the femme fatale with a score to settle with Zatoichi. However, the flick does have a tendency to bog down whenever they aren’t on screen. Katsu’s typically fun performance helps keep it afloat, and the finale is pretty sweet, but ultimately Zatoichi on the Road is a notch below some of its predecessors.

AKA: Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi, Fighting Journey. AKA: Zatoichi’s Fighting Journey.

Tags: action, sequel, z, zatoichi series
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