Notable Cast: Shintaro Katsu, Toshiro Mifune, Ayako Wakao, Osamu Takizawa, Masakane Yonekura, Shin Kishida, Kanjuro Arashi
After taking a fairly decent break during my Zatoichi binge, I went back and watched Yojimbo and Sanjuro in prep for this film. Both franchises, despite significant differences in length, expertly hold their own as entertaining and well executed films. Could Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo possibly contain the epic screen devouring abilities of both of these characters and their respective actors? Quite simply, the answer is yes. Quite ridiculously, the answer is holy shit yes. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo is a film that not only ably blends the style of two franchises, but it makes note to actually surround our protagonists with a plot that is worthy of having both characters meet. Fortunately, the film also doesn’t fall prey to the generic ‘versus’ elements of bringing two iconic characters together…which only makes it better.
Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) needs the comfort of his old home after a rough time on his endless wandering adventures. When he arrives though, he finds the town is a shadow of its former glory and torn apart by a yakuza family feud. He also finds that one side has hired a shifty swordsman as a bodyguard for their boss, a nameless man (Toshiro Mifune) who only seems to be out for himself…and stands in the way of Zatoichi righting the wrongs of a town lead down the wrong path.
|Slice n' dice.|
It must also be noted though, for the more action oriented fan base, that Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo is rather sparse on the action set pieces. There is enough to keep the two hour film moving at a brisk pace, but it’s not like our two protagonists repeatedly battle one another. There are a few traps set in place and a solid amount of henchmen find themselves at the sharp end of a sword by the finale, but the film instead plays out the characters are gravitational personalities that battle instead with wits rather than letting them clash swords. By the time the two finally do end up dueling it out in the final act, Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo pulls some pretty fun twists to make it a more philosophy driven clash then one where it’s an extensive and fully choreographed match.
|It's a snow show.|