Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hanzo the Razor

Does anyone have any suggestions at to why these films might be worth investigating? Is the Yasuzo Masamura one any good? I recently watched the first in the trilogy (Sword of Justice) and enjoyed certain balls-to-the-wall qualities (like Hanzo's self-torture scenes), but the fights were mostly underwhelming (poorly shot, often unconvincingly choreographed), and the misogyny was just unforgivable.

I ask about this one, though, because I must have watched an important precursor to Takashi Miike, what with the shared interest in extreme sex, torture, oversized genitalia, steam-activated tattoos, anachronistic elements clashing through diegesis and outside of it (e.g., the Curtis Mayfield Superfly rip-offs that comprise Hanzo's cheesily enjoyable soundtrack). I admire the matter-of-factness, which might be an especially Japanese trait here, with which characters dive into situations which test or exert their bodily limits. Is it worth it to look at the other films?

(I've also not seen any Lone Wolf and Cub films, and none of the original Zatoichi films in their entirety. Recommendations there are welcome.)


Unknown said...

You and just about everybody else who's offered an analysis of the possible allegorical nature of the Hanzo series are mission an important point about the blatant misogyny evident in the films. Fantasy violence against women continues to be a central part of Japanese male psychology - just look at the manga comics that regularly depict this level against women (and worse) which are extremely popular in Japan. It isn't just a reflection of the times. What's interesting is that incidence of actual rape in Japan is extremely low...Japanese men seem to be satisfied to just daydream about it by reading this crap...and I'm sure there are a few PhD theses knocking around that discuss this.

Madalyn said...

Goodness, there's so much useful data here!