Martial Arts

Kazuo Kuroki – Rônin-gai aka Street of Masterless Samurai (1990)

Kazuo Kuroki’s international award-winning period drama was produced in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the death of Shozo Makino, “the father of Japanese films.” Set in the 1830s near the end of the age of the samurai, Ronin Gai is populated by an ensemble of colorful characters, social outcasts who patronize a restaurant and brothel on the outskirts of Edo. Among them are prostitutes and masterless samurai reduced to drunkenness and debauchery. The disgraced and disillusioned former warriors get a chance at redemption when renegade samurai invade the area to murder the prostitutes. Read More »

Yimou Zhang – Ying xiong AKA Hero [Director’s Cut] (2002)

Quote:
In ancient China, before the reign of the first emperor, warring factions throughout the Six Kingdoms plot to assassinate the most powerful ruler, Qin. When a minor official defeats Qin’s three principal enemies, he is summoned to the palace to tell Qin the story of his surprising victory. Read More »

King Hu & Hsing Lee & Ching-jui Pai – Da lunhui aka The Wheel of Life (1983) (DVD)

Daw Ming Lee, The Historical Dictionary of Taiwan Cinema:
King Hu’s next film was a portmanteau film,The Wheel of Life/Da lunhui (1983), in which he once again codirected with Lee Hsing and Pai Chingjui, as he did in Four Moods. The Wheel of Life revolves around romance between two men and a woman that repeats itself in several generations. Hu was responsible for the story of the first generation, set in the Ming dynasty that he was most familiar with. It is an intriguing romantic story involving a secret service agent, the daughter of the governor, and the leader of the antigovernment army who is plotting vengeance. Hu directed the episode well. This film, too, failed at the box office. Read More »

Wei Lo – Bing tian xia nu AKA Vengeance of a Snowgirl (1971)

Synopsis:
The head-slicing Snow Maid heroine is enraged after she learns that her mother has been raped by a gang of thugs. The vengeful woman picks up her sword and seeks out the notorious Golden Hair Mouse for high-flying, hard-hitting revenge. Read More »

Kenji Misumi – Zatôichi kenka-daiko AKA Samaritan Zatoichi (1968)

Synopsis
Zatoichi is forced to kill a young man who owes a debt to a yakuza boss. Moments later, his sister Osode arrives with the money she earned (prostituting herself) to pay his debts. The bosses true motives are revealed and he attempts to steal Osode even though the debt is paid. Zatoichi realizes his grievous error and protects the girl from the gang. Osode and Zatoichi are caught in a dilemma as she must rely on her brother’s killer for protection and Zatoichi wrestles with the injustice he has caused. Read More »

Kimiyoshi Yasuda – Shin zatô Ichi: Yabure! Tôjin-ken AKA Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman (1971)

Synopsis:
Zatoichi the blind masseur and crack swordsman finds trouble in the edge of town in this 22nd installment of the classic samurai film series. When Zatoichi confronts the master Chinese martial artist Wang Kang and his young traveling companion, the blind swordsman finds that the duo are trying to escape from a group of terroristic samurai who have killed the boy’s parents. Zatoichi agrees to help them, but the rescue becomes complicated when he must rescue not only Wang Kang and the boy, but also everyone who they meet along the way! Read More »

Kimiyoshi Yasuda – Shin Zatôichi monogatari: Kasama no chimatsuri AKA Zatoichi’s Conspiracy AKA Zatoichi at the Blood Fest (1973)

Zatoichi returns to his home village for the first time in over ten years to find much has changed and that corruption abounds. Read More »