Zatoichi’s Flashing Sword
Zatoichi is a “ronin,” a wandering samurai. He also happens to be blind, but you wouldn’t know it from his skill with a sword. After surviving a gunshot wound, Zatoichi (played brilliantly by Shintaro Katsu) sets out to repay the kindness of the woman who tended him. He soon finds himself in the middle of a vicious struggle for control of a river ford, learning the grievances on both sides by posing as a masseur. Yet, even with Zatoichi’s aid, the “good guys” in the conflict also come off as inescapably doomed. This is the seventh film in about 26 installments of the popular ’60s series. The color is rich, the sound good, and director Kazuo Ikehiro has an artist’s eye when it comes to drawing from his cinematic palette and composing scenes.