21 December 2015 | mevmijaumau
Zatoichi and the Fugitives (1968)
Kimiyoshi Yasuda's Zatoichi and the Fugitives (not to be confused with the earlier entry called Zatoichi the Fugitive) strays a bit from the usual formula but it's still a recognizable Zatoichi picture in general and not a particularly good or a bad installment of the series at that.
The plot is typical; Zatoichi enters a town run by gangsters and corrupt officials - nothing new. But, despite the usual slow pacing, this entry is a bit more modern than its predecessors. The violence is pulpy, bloody and plentiful, there's a bit of comic nudity, the Spaghetti Western-like scoring style is perfected and perfectly combined with Zatoichi's new theme song, and the villains are noticeably more ruthless and sadistic than usual. There is also a lot of killing in this movie; it has what must be the largest body-count of any Zatoichi film so far and the final boss kill is particularly good. Fun fact; legendary actor Takashi Shimura appears as the benevolent town doctor (usually the same actors repeat in this series so it's always interesting to see a famous face).
Highlight of the film: Zatoichi removes a bullet from his shoulder using his cane-sword.