During the Edo period in Japan (1600-1868), acupuncturist Dr. Baian (Ken Watanabe) uses his skills to kill or cure. In fact, Baian-sensei often accepts payment to extinguish evildoers -- but only so that he can use the money to minister to the innocent sick. Think Robin Hood with needles and blades instead of a longbow. This first volume of the gritty series finds Baian navigating the shadowy street scene, where the action takes place in bars and brothels.
Released in 2006 and starring Ken Watanabe of The Last Samurai fame. This is a classic jidaigeki film and is the first movie of a two film series. A period drama that takes place during the Edo period in Japan but it is not a chanbara sword fighting flick. Although some other reviews around the web state the movie includes ninjas, there are no ninjas in this film. And that is good as ninjas would just be out of place in this movie. However, Baian does have a ninja-like flip during his first assassination even though I would not call him a ninja.
I liked this volume. I say movie but apparently this was a 1990s TV show that they combined to make this movie. But for me it still flowed like a movie so I am not complaining. Not a lot of action but still a good story and Ken Watanabe was perfect for this role. It is an interesting character for Watanabe to play, a compassionate doctor who is also an assassin. I like Watanabe and I think he his a good actor. There are only one or two short sword fighting scenes. The ending of the movie has a surprising twist when Baian has to assassinate someone he knew from along time ago.