Hanzo is an incorruptible and unorthodox officer in Edo, as famous for his self-discipline and his love shaft as his sword. Against the backdrop of his magistrate’s occasional rounding up of vagrants, Hanzo learns that an infamous killer is no longer on his island prison: did he escape or was he never there? Hanzo’s investigation leads him to the magistrate’s mistress, the killer’s former lover. Hanzo pursues political questions that suggest complicity at the highest levels. Using sexual assault, he interrogates the mistress and later the favorite of Edo’s most powerful woman. Can he get to the bottom of what’s going on before powerful forces get him fired or killed? —IMDb
Born on March 2, 1921, Kenji got his start in the early 1950s, serving as an assistant director to Teinosuke KINUGASA, which included work on the Oscar-winning Gate of Hell. (The film also won the Grand Prix at Cannes.)
Beginning with his first film, Asa Taro Garasu in 1956, Kenji made almost 50 films in just under twenty years. During his tenure at Daiei in the 1960s, he was one of the studio’s three biggest directors, along with Tokuzo TANAKA (Sleepy Eyes #1, #10) and Kazuo IKEHIRO (Sleepy Eyes #4, #9, #12), however, his visual style eclipsed many of his contemporaries and earned him the nickname “Little Mizoguchi.” His work in the Zatoichi series, as well his 14 films with Raizo ICHIKAWA (which included three Sleepy Eyes of Death films and the Ken trilogy), established Kenji as a Master Jidaigeki (Period Samurai Films) Director in Japan.
After the collapse of Daiei, Kenji moved to television for a short period. In 1972, he returned to films and was given the task of… read more
Wasn’t comfortable with an anti-hero who used rape as an interrogation method; even if exploitation cinema purposely stabs at taboos, this one is difficult to get past, more so as a male uncomfortable about the concept. The film is interesting nonetheless, but on this viewing somewhat disappointing in that not a lot actually happens. The sequels improved on this issue, but the earlier Lone Wolf and Cub films, based on the manga from the same author, are far superior in quality.