Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?
After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.
While traveling the Japanese countryside the blind masseur Zatoichi comes across the One Armed Swordsman, Wang Kang, who is in hiding and protecting a child from a corrupt Japanese priest and a group of yakuza. Zatoichi and Wang Kang, each from very different worlds yet heroic swordsman in their own right, at first seem to get along but a language barrier and a series of misunderstanding leads Kang to distrust Ichi. Soon the two heroes are at each other throats while each attempts to stop the true villains from taking the child.Written by
Daniel Jos. Leary
Unlike many Hong Kong and Taiwanese films (including an Ozploitation film The Dragon Flies (1975)) he ever performed in the 70s, this was the only film Jimmy Wang Yu's real voice can be heard from start to finish, which means it was filmed in live sound where each actor's voice is captured during filming. See more »
Chinese version has an extra fight scene between a priest and the one armed swordsman. The outcome of the final duel is also different. See more »
It's rare to see that the 22nd installment of a franchise gets to be its finest. I'm still not exactly sure if Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman is my exact favorite so far, but it's definitely up there. In the review for the last film I said that that it'll be hard to make the series interesting or fresh for the final few outings, but #22 does it by not following the plot formula that the previous films established and by putting Zatoichi against a charismatic, capable rival.
It's a crossover with the One-Armed Swordsman films starring Jimmy Wang Yu, the third Zatoichi crossover in a row. The Mifune one was utterly meh, and the Nakadai one was barely even a crossover in how he was used in a small side-plot, so it's easy to say this one surpasses them with ease. Zatoichi and the One-Armed Swordsman cannot understand each other because of the language barrier, which sets in motion a very interesting story, but also stands as a simple, but oddly effective metaphor for the cultural differences and conflicts between China and Japan.
To add to this, the final duel in this film definitely doesn't have a predictable outcome like the Zatoichi vs Yojimbo one had. I was actually surprised at it. Also, the sword-fighting scenes are just excellent all throughout the film. The only real weakness is lack of an unique visual style, but that really goes for any Zatoichi film directed by Kimiyoshi Yasuda.
Highlight of the film: a thug getting his arm chopped off by Zatoichi and not even realizing it until he sees it in front of himself.
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