Unhappy with his food-tasting job, samurai Shinnojo Mimura (Takuya Kimura) dreams of opening a martial arts school for boys. But when eating toxic shellfish leaves him blind, his hopes for the future are dashed. Learning his wife (Rei Dan) has been forced into sexual favors in order to secure a stipend, Shinnojo works to revamp his sword skills and seek revenge. The film is the third in a series from director Yoji Yamada (Twilight Samurai and Hidden Blade).
This film fits in nicely with Yamada's other two films in this series, Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade, both good movies. The storyline in this film is not that original but Yamada and actor Kimura do a very good job in telling the story. The ending is straight out of a Zatoichi flick but the sword fight scene is performed superbly and I think realistically, much more believable than any Zatoichi sword fight by a blind man. Gee, what a surprise, Takuya Kimura is a former member of the pop group SMAP. It seems every samurai flick and taiga drama these days includes a present or former member of SMAP. But in reality the SMAP members including Kimura actually put on pretty good performances in their samurai roles. Kimura plays his blind character convincingly. Actress Rei Dan also does a good job as the wife. Mimura's loyal assistant Tokuhei adds a bit of humor and personality to this film. Tokuhei is played by one of my favorite Japanese actors Takashi Sasano who has been in dozens of films and TV shows including Departures and Katen no Shiro.
There is no sword action in this film at all until the end of the film and even then it lasts only about a minute or two so if that is what you are looking for this film is not for you. But it is still a good sword fight scene nonetheless. If you watched Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade and enjoyed them then you will probably like this film as well. I certainly enjoyed this film as I also did Yamada's other films in this series so I give this 2006 film my recommendation. (2 hours, 2006)