This movie about samurais definitely bears the stamp of Kitano who also plays the main character, Zatoichi. Zatoichi is a blind masseur who also handles masterfully the sword hidden in his cane. In the movie, we don’t know where he comes from and he helps the people he meets during his trip.
As in all samurai movie, swords fly everywhere running through and cutting bodies, drawing floods of blood. You can find all the characteristic elements of this genre with the brother and the sister disguised as travelling geishas who want revenge for the murder of their parents, the duel between the two sword masters, Zatoichi and Gennosuke. The former helps the working people racketeered by a clan that employs the latter. The picture is full of funny parts like the scene in the gambling den, the village idiot training to become a samurai, the lesson in the art of the sword, Shinchiki disguising himself as a woman to be more beautiful…
Musical sequences run through the movie with rythm on the percussion : four peasants ploughing a field, four peasants in the rain, the village party with tap dancing. This tap dance scene looks very modern but modern parts aren’t that strange in this movie. We don’t see Beat Takeshi tap dancing like the other characters of the picture in this final scene even though he is a very good tap dancer.
I like Zatoichi by Beat Takeshi Kitano in the samurai genre as a counterpoint to Kurosawa’s Kagemusha.