Culture, Film

Movie Catch-Up: Ichi


Ichi movie posterThe Zatoichi legend continues with this handsome tale of a blind, wandering musician and a cowardly samurai fighting bandits, spaghetti-Western style – with twists.

Firstly, this languid, at times dream-like Japanese movie is far from your standard katana-actioner, a long way from it’s frenetic forebears. Second, the Ichi character is a woman.

Blind from birth, Ichi (the exquisite and utterly engaging Haruka Ayase) is taught the sword by her father, for whom she now searches across Nippon’s feudal out-lands. Saving the life of a pacifist samurai, they fall into the employ of the local Yakuza, themselves under threat from disfigured gangster Banky (Shidou Nakamura).

Opening with the standard tropes of the mysterious gun-slinger arriving in town, Ichi has all the classic elements of a samurai adventure, although framed as an art-house movie by director Fumihiko Sori. The middle act replays the Fistful of Dollars / Yojimbo capture and escape of our heroine, while the third act is an epic action sequence and battle for redemption.

Ichi is at times a little slow and lingering, and the plotting is more than a little melodramatic, particularly at the climax. But the excellent cast play it straight, it has enough action to keep samurai fans hooked and it looks stunning. RC

Ichi (2008)
Director: Fumihiko Sori
Writer: Taeko Asano
Certification (UK): 15
Running time: 119 mins
Genre: Action & Adventure, Historical
Cast: Haruka Ayase, Shido Nakamura, Shidou Nakamura, Takao Osawa, Yosuke Kubozuka

Related: Casshern

About Robin Catling

Writer; performer; project manager; sports coach; all-round eccentric.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Movie Catch-Up: Ichi

  1. thanks very much for this great post!

    Posted by claudia marley | May 13, 2013, 7:17 pm
  2. Movie Catch-Up: Ichi | Everything Express

    Posted by Buz TX | August 14, 2013, 4:31 am

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  1. Pingback: Movie Catch-Up: Thirteen Assassins (2010) | Everything Express - October 4, 2013

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