Something of a strange and seedy, slightly hysterical gem from the early seventies, this trilogy of Japanese samurai films, despite being set in feudal Japan borrow excessively or perhaps satirise heavily some of the more ludicrous elements of western tough guy cop cinema. Think Dirty Harry or James Bond. Right down to the funked up music from the title sequence that could have come straight from Lalo Schiffrin. Shintaro Katsu (Zatoichi) is a tough guy samurai cop who takes shit from no one, an expert swordsman he thinks nothing of battling fifteen or more opponents, dispatching them with torrents of spraying blood that would (and probably did) have Tarantino drooling. Yet Hanzo is also quite adept at another sword, one that is attached to his body. Yet you don’ get good at something unless you train and Hanzo has his own peculiar ritual where first he beats his monster appendage with a stick and then proceeds to mount a bag of rice. He needs to do this because his second sword is also his main means of interrogating the female suspects, i.e. stripping them, putting them in a rope sack suspended from the roof and having his servants raise and lower the sack onto his monster appendage. They struggle initially, but quickly they become incapacitated by ecstasy. This is where he stops until they give him information he requires. Based on a Manga cartoon and from the creator of excellent Lone Wolf and Cub series, Hanzo the Razor treads the fine line between earnestness and stupidity, yet everything is played straight with a great mix of sex, violence and political intrigue. Part spaghetti western, part 70′ crime thriller, part sexploitation flick, Hanzo the Razor gets a tick in all the important boxes and the result is totally addictive.
Trailers, stills gallery and original poster art.