Critics score:
86 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald:This is a wonderfully odd movie, proof that an artist can leave his personal stamp on any film, no matter the genre.Read more

Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times:Aimed squarely at a samurai-literate audience, and its appeal beyond that is probably limited.Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune:A masterpiece of wry violence and stylized mayhem.Read more

Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle:Hyper-violent yet emotionally powerful, The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi is the rare exploitation film that values relationships over bloodshed. But the bloodshed is still pretty awesome.Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper:[T]his is just great stuff.Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:A savvy blend of slapstick, sword fights and samurai honor.Read more

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic:For those unfamiliar with such films, Zatoichi might be a little off-putting. But given a chance, the movie can be pretty entertaining.Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe:Witty, gruesome, and artful fun.Read more

Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times:Kitano's character may have his eyes closed, but this is one filmmaker who always ensures that the audience has theirs wide open.Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader:In the latter part of the film, [Kitano] exhibits an urge to liberate Zatoichi and himself from the action-movie template completely.Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press:The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi begins life as a straight-up samurai movie, evolves into a slapstick comedy and ends as a rousing, tap-dancing musical.Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post:An immensely entertaining and at times moving story.Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly:The movie, quite simply, goes to sleep whenever Zatoichi isn't fighting. When he is, it's a pulp dazzler.Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail:Violent, capricious, musical and endlessly inventive.Read more

Gary Dowell, Dallas Morning News:Mr. Kitano slips into the title role like a second skin.Read more

Walter Chaw, L.A. Weekly:A little Ozu, a little Kurosawa and a whole lot of rock & roll.Read more

John Anderson, Newsday:With The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi, Kitano not only recreates an iconic hero at a time that's ripe, he explores the underlying tempi of art at large.Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek:Zatoichi is a mix-and-match crowd-pleaser that shouldn't add up, but delightfully does.Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger:A delight.Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News:Some culture-specific humor that doesn't translate well and a protagonist who is downright silly--- always chuckling and cackling to himself in a way that gets on the nerves.Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times:It often feels like many episodes of a serial compressed into a single feature. This may, in the end, be easier to digest than 25 sequels and a hundred hours of television. It may also whet your appetite for more.Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel:This isn't arty violence, just violence, and pretty pedestrian for a samurai picture.Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times:It's the kind of film I more and more find myself seeking out, a film that seems alive in the sense that it appears to have free will.Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star:If there were ever a movie seeking adoption by a willing cult, this baby's it.Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out:However improbably, Kitano pulls it off quite gloriously. Admittedly, this isn't one of his most idiosyncratic, innovative or, indeed, satisfying works, but it's without doubt fast, funny, fabulous to behold.Read more

David Rooney, Variety:Over-plotted and at times incoherent but never dull, this is a stylishly designed, highly entertaining bloodbath full of offbeat comedy and inspired musical moments.Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice:A reasonably good Kurosawa pastiche.Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post:While Kitano- the-performer fights with his seemingly endless array of enemies, Kitano the filmmaker makes sure that everything is beautiful, from the wonderful colors and passing tableaux to the intricate fighting choreography.Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post:Boy, is this baby a hoot.Read more