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Zatoichi 21 - The Festival of Fire
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I was particularly drawn to the unnnamed Husband that shadows Zatoichi throughout the movie - here was a man honor-bound to avenge the "treachery" of his wife, and even when Zatoichi tells him that nothing occurred between them, the Husband's honor must be upheld. Driven increasingly eratic by his knowledge, the man pursues his enemy, even helping the blind swordsman when it appears that Zatoichi's life is in danger. After all, none but him may have the honor of slaying our hero. Their final fight is one of the most emotional that I have ever seen.
Zatoichi's closing words are chilling, not because he's moving on, but because he's (unsuccessfully) convincing himself that everything is fine. The blind swordsman is emotionally drained from the resolution of the conflict, and it will be some time before he can open up that much of himself again.
As always, the sword choreography was above par. Katsu's blade passes through untold scores of ne'er-do-wells, and the number of adversaries in the climactic fight is cause for alarm, even if they are facing down Ichi. For those of you placing a high importance on sword choreography, I would like to mention that this movie contains a a style I've only ever seen once before, in the underrated 'Sword of Doom'. The 'soundless' form used by Ichi's counterpart is more than impressive, and action followers will want to see this movie just for that alone.
The acting in this particular film is also worth note. Katsu is always incredible as Ichi, it goes without saying, but the real goods here today is the intense performance of Tatsuya Nakadai, playing a nameless ronin. Were it not for Shintaro's genius, I would almost say Nakadai stole the show from Ichi himself. The unrelenting conviction of the nameless ronin is done brilliantly. If you've seen Sword of Doom, it is essentially the same character as Ryunosuke.
The acting from the rest of the cast is decent. There is one female of note, but I was left unimpressed by the primary enemy, and no characters other than Ichi and the ronin left an impression on me. Fortunately, either one of those two more than make up for it, and in fact interactions between the two are some of my favorite scenes in film.
There is a scene midway into the film which seems to have been the basis for the musical choreography we saw in the Beat Takeshi 2003 movie. Kinda fun.Read more ›
my favorite series, always hits a home run
* PERFECT cinematoghraphy (just like Lord of the Rings)
* Good final fight.
* The bad guy is very similar to a evil samurai in japanese animation!
* Zatoichi is surrounded by fire.
* FAST movements by Shintaro Katsu (Zatoichi).
* Zatoichi fights 30 men at the end.
* The final fight was good but not AWESOME as "Zatoichi meets the one armed swordman".
P.S: Many people are telling me that "Zatoichi the Outlaw" is the best but the film was made in the late 60's, I really don't trust in the 60's production because I saw "Zatoichi Zamatarian" in 1968 and the movie didn't have the best camera movements as the 70's cameras. But I will give it a try some of this days to watch "The Outlaw".
In this terrific film, Ichi rescues a woman who has just been sold at an auction. However, she is murdered by an unknown assailant. The murderer is a Ronin [Tatsuya Nakadai], who also happens to be the murdered woman's husband. The Ronin is a hate-filled and jealous man who claims he will kill anyone who touches or ever touched his wife. Zatoichi, who is a masseur, is suspected by this Ronin as having touched her and he vows to kill Ichi: whom the Ronin suspects as having slept with his wife.
Moreover, not only is the Ronin out to get Zatoichi, but Ichi also makes an enemy of the local mob boss played to the hilt by [Masayuki Mori] This mob boss, who like Ichi, is also blind, is incredibly devious, wicked and downright mean. Therefore, you have Ichi caught in the middle of two dangerous men. A dementedly sick Ronin, and a dispicably twisted and evil mob boss. Also, there is a very funny nude yakuza fight scene in a bathhouse: One of many excellent and terrific scenes.
Zatoichi goes through one hell of a time with both of these demented characters. The confrontation with the evil mob boss is incredibly great, and the final confrontation with the demented Ronin is outstanding! Moreover, you have a hilarious scene with [Peter] of "Ran" fame trying to seduce and kill Zatoichi. The entire film is a roller-coaster thrill of suspense, drama, hilarity, and just exciting cinema. The cinematography in the film is terrific, as is the musical score in the film. The entire film is a delightful and thoroughly entertaining Zatoichi film. Highly, highly recommended. [Stars: 5+]
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is good also missed most of Zatoichi movies when growing upPublished 22 months ago by JJ Jackson
See my reviews of Zatoichi 15, 17, 23, and 25. I have nearly the entire 26 Zatoichi films that Shintaro Katsu made in the 1960's through the mid 1970's, plus most of the tv series... Read morePublished on June 24, 2014 by garett t.
A blind Boss of Bosses who wants Zatoichi dead, a husband out to cut down anybody who slept with his wife, a female assassin who uses her sex appeal to bait her prey. Read morePublished on June 24, 2011 by Michael Valdivielso
In a series as long as Zatoichi (26 films in total) you are bound to have some hits and misses. By any standards "Zatoichi: The Festival of Fire" (Japanese title: "Zatoichi... Read morePublished on September 13, 2010 by Zack Davisson
Having gone through all the Zatoichi DVD's at the local video store several times, I was compelled to purchase the titles missing from their stock. Read morePublished on August 25, 2004 by JB
I've seen quite a few of the Zatoichi series and I have to admit that this is the best so far. It has substance and ability to hold one's attention for the entire duration of the... Read morePublished on August 4, 2004 by Martial Arts Damsel