He?s Hanzo "The Razor" Itami; the incorruptible and uncompromising samurai cop, and he packs a weapon more devastating than any sword (just ask any of the female suspects he "interrogates"). From the creator of the Lone Wo... more »lf and Cub series comes this legendary 1970s trilogy based on Kazuo Koike?s classic mangas, and starring Shintaro Katsu (Zatoichi) as Hanzo, the screen?s most outrageous samurai anti-hero. In the name of justice, there?s no torture he won?t endure, no pain he won?t inflict, and no superior he?ll bow to. Each film is presented complete and uncut.« less
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 04/01/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
From 1975, pulpy, trashy, politically incorrect, HONZO THE RAZOR (Home Vision Entertainment) is finally on DVD in a three disc set ("Sword of Justice," "The Snare" and "Who's Got the Gold?") complete and uncut from the best original elements.
Anti-hero Honzo's an uncompromising Samurai rogue cop who will stop at nothing in the name of justice. Actually, he's a sick, twisted masochistic freak.
Based on the infamous graphic novels (manga) of Kazuo Koike, Honzo bows to no superior and pulls no punches. In fact, he welcomes pain and offers torture to get what he wants. With females, the torture is sex. This series is a mutant sub-genre of Asian crime noir. It is naughty and bawdy but done with an absolutely straight face. If you're in the right state of mind, it is both shocking and hilarious. I loved the complicated security devices the rightfully paranoid Honzo has rigged for his abode.
Dead-Pan Bawdy Fun
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 07/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What can you say about a guy like Hanzo Itami? He's a cop in the shogun's police force, a lone wolf, incorruptible, grim and dedicated to putting the bad guys away. If that means stepping on his superiors' toes or breaking a few rules, so be it. He's also a master swordsman and skilled in the martial arts. He's not above using torture to get the truth. He's tortured himself (he has the scars to prove it) so that he will know how much to use on others. And for women, he's trained his shorter sword to be just as tough. He uses beatings with a wooden stick, scalding water and weights to, ah, bring it up and ready. Whether he's using the twisting basket technique or the power thrust, he'll have a female suspect begging to tell the truth...and then begging for more.
Think of a samurai Dirty Harry combined with soft porn. The sex is often ludicrous but funny because the movie doesn't play it for laughs. The director knows everything is a send-up and is careful not to wink at the audience. There's plenty of sword action -- the long sword kind -- to keep things moving. Blood squirts like squished tomatoes. A slash through a backbone is handled, well, kind of delicately.
The movie works because it is so outrageously non-PC, because it determinedly takes everything seriously, and because of a great performance by Shitaro Katsu as Hanzo. Katsu starred in the Zaitoichi movies and he brings a lot of dead pan authority to the role. He's a solid guy, a bit pudgy in the face, and no one would mistake him for a Japanese Clint Eastwood. But he also looks like a fellow you wouldn't want to mess with.
Now, what's the story about? I'm not sure. As best as I can tell Hanzo, an honest cop, realizes his superior is corrupt and that the connection might reach into Edo Castle, the home of the Tokugawa Shogunate. He tracks down the truth, encountering a notorious murderer, Killer Kanbei, whom everyone thought had been exiled. He forces the truth from two women, and discovers what the conspiracy had been all about. And at the end of the movie, with the case solved, he helps out a poor young girl and her little brother [...]. His good deed brings the first and only smile to Hanzo's face. You've have to see it.
This is a funny movie balancing on the border between outrageousness and bawdiness. The movie comes as part of a three pack. The other two movies are The Snare and Who's Got the Gold? The joke is the same for all three and I may not get around to watching them soon. The DVD transfer looks very good although there is one jump that I assume came from two or three seconds of lost film. There are no extras to speak of but the case holds brief liner notes that describe the manga comic book origin of the Hanzo character, how the movie came to be made and the importance of Shintaro Katsu."
Interrogation has many sides
solipsis | Portland, OR USA | 12/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been trying to find out just how many of these films exist. I've seen 3 of them.. They combine all the familiar elements of the midieval japanese samurai (I don't have my Alain Silver guide handy) drama.. with some funny and very welcome twists.. The main character is a constable with a kind of rogue ethic, a Ronin cop, if you will, who holds corruption over his bosses heads so he can get his way...He also has a kind of rogue aesthetic.. especially in his interrogation techniques.. the 3 films I have seen start with him "conditioning" his sexual organ with various techniques which could only be described as masochistic.. but you see, this uh, tool, is his interrogation device, and he uses sex to interrogate the females in the particular case.. These are not porno movies, but rather a very wonderful Bawdy Samurai/Comedy Action Thriller Hybrid.. The tone is totally serious.. but it comes off hilarious.. especially his rube-goldbergian security devices that protect his house.. Please if anybody knows tell me where to get more of these films.. I'm definitely a fan.."
Only the japanese...
shlomo | Schaffhausen Switzerland | 08/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hanzo the man made of steel (and I really mean the whole man). He fights evil and corruption in Edo-Japan in his own ways. Untouchable as Eliott Ness, but with the very strange habit of tortureing Women with his... well... real big schlong. And of course torture leads to pleasure because Hanzo the Blade knows how to use his tool right. Yes, this is political uncorrect japanese Trash at it's best. A kind of japanese Shaft (even the funky score reminded me a little of Shaft), just a little bit naughtier... Don't even try to take it serious or you'd have a problem watching these movies. 3 Parts to the series (every one an own movie for its self), part 2 (this one) and part 3 are the better. Don't look one after the other in too short time, because the buildup is pretty similar to every movie."
Sharp, but far from razor-sharp
Amazedbylife | USA | 04/17/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Interesting and entertaining, but not a breakthrough of any kind. Quality is on par with good Japanese tv shows of the same era (yes, I saw those tv shows). Not the amazingly different take on the samurai myth that Amazon's review led me to expect. Katsu's "Zatoichi" blind masseur series is actually much superior. "Hanzo the Razor" isn't exactly a waste of money to buy, but I doubt you will watch it more than once. I won't. Far more interesting is "Ronin Gai," about the murder of prostitutes on the outskirts of Edo in the 1830's, and the wandering samurai who get a chance at redemption, also available from Amazon."