Director: Takeshi Kitano
Year Released: 2003
Oddball version of the Zatoichi story by Renaissance Man Kitano, which wants to be 'both sides' of the director's personality at once: wacky comedian willing to do anything for a joke and serious filmmaker. The problem comes in, I think, when he goes from light-hearted camp and tongue-in-cheek bloodbath to the 'serious' story of the two concubines (in which the Zatoichi character is all but missing from the movie - he more or less exists just to kill everything) that brings the movie's momentum to a near halt. The up-and-down mood swings work in a film like Kikujiro where the comedy is just a cover for the pain - in this case, the bipolarity has no place, leaving this to be just a stylistic exercise. The CGI effects are ugly and unconvincing, but Kitano does have an astonishing sense of composition.