Zatoichi The Fugitive (1963)

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Zatoichi The Fugitive is the fourth movie out of twenty-six of the series about a blind masseur who is constantly gambling, fighting, getting in trouble with the yakuza, and meddling in the affairs of the locals.  You can say that is the template for almost every Zatoichi movie however it is the character interactions and development that will keep you coming back for more.  The action choreography is pretty standard for this type of Japanese movie, it is fairly realistic with little in the way of cinematic flair which I feel adds to the series rather than subtract.

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I’ve not watched a Zatoichi film that I didn’t enjoy and Zatoichi The Fugitive held a shocking surprise as well as the return of O-Tane who was Ichi’s love interest from the first film The Tale of Zatoichi.  This time Zatoichi gets involved in a Yakuza turf war upsetting a group of boss’s and O-Tane’s current boyfriend Master Tanakura who is determined to prove himself a stronger warrior than Zatoichi.  Love, betrayal, and revenge is served up in this 86 minute tale.  If you enjoyed the first three films then you will not be disappointed with the fourth installment

Tokuzo Tanaka, Director
Minduru Inuzuka, Script
Seiji Hoshikawa, Script

Shintaro Katsu as Ichi, the Blind Swordsman

Miwa Takada as O-Nobu

Masayo Banri as O-Tane

Toru Abe as Boss Yagiri Tokyuro

Koichi Mizuhara as Boss Unosuke

Yutaro Hojo as Master Tanakura

Sachiko Murase as Maki

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Rotten Tomatoes

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