Zoku Zatôichi monogatari (1962)
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- The Return of Masseur Ichi
- 72 min.
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The Tale of Zatoichi Continues, and the surviving cast all return, but it's without director Misumi and it shows. While it does have its moments of flourish, especially in the third act, Kazuo Mori's frame is more often cluttered than elegant... and so is this brisk 72-minute story. Ichi made a promise in the first film, and a year later he's returned to fulfill it... returned with a host of assassins on his tail. There's also a subplot about a figure from his past, which is eventually turned into the main plot, and though I'm happy to hand out with the characters again, the backstory feels dropped in somehow. If they'd filled out the run time with flashback sequences, it would have perhaps felt more organic. Similarly, some of the motivations behind everyone coming for Ichi are inferred, but not outright stated, which makes for a somewhat disjointed narrative. But having decided to make this a series, the background does give Ichi reason to travel and get into more trouble. There was no way a second film could equal the superlative first, so this is a necessary step down. The cast is still strong, and Katsu gets to show off more of his sword-fighting, so I was still entertained.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #13 in Galloway's Samurai Film Handbook & Companion
This movie ranks #785 in The Criterion Collection