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ICHI: The Movie

4.1 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ichi honors the classic tale of the blind samurai while casting the legend in breathtaking new light. In a role traditionally played by men, award-winning actress Haruka Ayase is both tender and brutal.

Beautiful Ichi wanders blindly from village to village, searching for the sightless swordsman who long ago taught her to kill. Her technique is exquisite and explosive, her defenses as impenetrable as the darkness in which she moves. Many along her solitary path are touched – some by the sound of her delicate music, others by the edge of her lethal blade.

Amazon.com

This visually stunning Japanese swordplay drama is an attempt at revising the venerable and exciting Zatoichi films and television series, which concern a blind masseur whose lowbrow nature concealed his deadly prowess with a blade. Here, the sightless hero is a woman (Ayase Haruka) in search of another blind man (the original Zatoichi, it is assumed) who taught her to defend herself before disappearing from her life. Unfortunately, the gender switch is the only real deviation from the tried and true Zatoichi format, which star and occasional director Shintaro Katsu perfected in 26 films and a television series between 1962 and 1989. Takeshi Kitano starred in and directed a more adventurous update in 2003 (complete with a musical number), so while Ichi is largely superfluous, it does feature a fine performance by Haruka, some lovely photography, and muscular and bloody combat choreographed by Kuze Hiroshi, who worked on several films for Akira Kurosawa. The DVD includes only a trailer for supplemental features. --Paul Gaita

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Takao Osawa, Shido Nakamura, Haruka Ayase
  • Directors: Fumihiko Sori
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Funimation
  • DVD Release Date: December 22, 2009
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002KYIAKQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,857 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "ICHI: The Movie" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Historical samurai dramas are the Japanese equivalent of the Western except that they still maintain their credibility. This is a reworking of the popular Zatoichi the blinds swordsman series, with a blind female musician trying to track down the person who may or may not be Zatoichi and who may or may not be her father.

I like the structure as more and more is revealed about the two main characters over the course of the film through the use of flashbacks which can, early on, sometimes be misleading. Toma, the samurai whom Ichi protects, at first appears to be nothing more than a coward but he is more than that and there are resonances which I don't want to spoil. The two leads are absolutely fine in their roles, the cute kid who helps Ichi is bearable, but the villains tend to be over the top. In particular the chief bad guy comes over like a psycho samurai Quentin Tarantino, whom he rather resembles.

It's attractively photographed with several striking snow scenes. There is a strong emotional content and lots of brooding silences, profundities, and deep thoughts -this is a samurai movie after all. There's even more blood, lashings and lashings of it as our heroine wades through the bad guys using her special backhanded slicing technique. The climax features even more blood and carnage with bad guys against good guys, hero against villain, heroine ag... ah, that would be telling.

I had a good time watching this. Sequel, please.
I have the UK edition. It's in Japanese with English subtitles. No extras apart from a trailer.
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Format: DVD
Ichi is one of those films that I've been meaning to tackle for some time. The look, the feel, the mood, and the mythological elements are all of undeniable Asian influence. Yes there are undefeatable principles at play within that span beyond the swordplay and action elements in the foreground. Before we look at the excellent philosophical tones of the picture, let's get the hard facts out of the way.

Coming in at a 120-minute runtime, Ichi consists of the full-length feature film on a single disc housed within a standard clamshell DVD case. The show wears an appropriate if not slightly conservative Restricted ® rating due to violent imagery, swordplay, digital gore and a healthy dose of character-driven drama.

Language options are typical sub & dub meaning both the original Japanese vocal track is present as well the choice of an English dub (either presented in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound) with the option of running English subtitles available with either vocal track.

The story, which has to be watched to be fully understood (or appreciated for that matter), goes something like this: Ichi, the female incarnation of the legendary blind swordsman Zatoichi, is herself a blind master of the blade and roams about town with her shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese guitar) in a mission to locate the man who helped raise her. Alone the way she happens upon no shortage of unsavory characters (rapists, thieves, and hustlers) looking to take advantage of her.
Ichi is no pushover, as the baddies soon discover in dramatic visual style, and defends herself with spectacular swordplay time and time again.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Beautiful Actress! Great character! I very much enjoyed this movie, it had a good story line and the characters were developed enough to keep your interest, even the supporting child actor was charming, thanks!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I am really impressed with the excellent value offered on Amazon.com for this Japanese film showcasing the acting talent of Haruka Ayase, performing in the title role. Haruka is best know in Japan as a pinup model and pop singer who has established herself as an actress in Japanese films ("Cyborg She", "All-Round Appraiser Q", "Akko-Chan", and "Oppai Volleyball") and on television ("Yae No Sakura" and "Red Attraction"). Here, she really impresses as a wandering blind musician (goze) and swordswoman who befriends a street urchin and partners with an out-of-work samurai to help save a village from bandits and gangsters fighting a turf war. Although the plot is somewhat predictable, the film is very enjoyable nonetheless. It has a first-rate veteran cast, excellent photography, and the "Ichi" soundtrack is composed by Lisa Gerrard and Michael Edwards and includes SunMin's single "Will".Read more ›
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This film is a great adaption of Shintaro Katsu's Zatoichi character from the 60s. Starring Haruka Ayase as the title character and she does a very good job. The movie is a sort of amalgam of the many stories in the TV series, all of the events and characters were in at least one of the Zatoichi episodes. The only thing that is different is that Ichi is a young woman and has a different motivation and personality than Shintaro's character. The actor who plays the villain really chews the scenery, but doesn't distract you too much. Miss Haruka plays Ichi quite well and is a very good actress.
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