Shintarô Katsu returns as Hanzo “The Razor” Itami in part two of the martial arts trilogy chronicling the escapades of the samurai constable who lives and plays by his set of rules. This time, Hanzo battles devil worshippers, sadistic cultists and crooked officials. In his quest to defend the weak, Hanzo uses a sharp-edged sword — and his sexual muscle — to mete out justice in director Yasuzo Masumura’s mind-blowing film.
A singularly contradictory figure in Japanese cinema, Yasuzo Masumura directed 58 features between 1957 and 1982. He was trained by and worked for a handful of recognized cinematic masters, but chose to work for the most part in the less reputable world of B-movies. Virtually all of his films were made within the commercial film industry but they display a fierce personal vision imbued with a fascination with madness and a passion for the extremes of human behavior.
Born in 1924, Masumura earned an undergraduate degree in Law from Tokyo University near the end of World War II. He returned to college after the war for another degree in Literature and Philosophy while working as an assistant director at Daiei Studios. (Novelist Yukio Mishima was one of his classmates, and later had a starring role in his gangster thriller Afraid to Die). After graduating in 1949 with a thesis on Kierkegaard, he became the first Japanese student ever accepted to the prestigious Centro Sperimentale… read more
I am still not comfortable with the use of sexual violence within this series, but directed and written by Yasuzo Masumura, the director of Blind Beast, there is something more to this than mere titillation, something darker, more violent, more erotic-grotesque, and with a deeper, in context of an exploitation film, analysis of Hanzo’s moral code, a far more complex film than its luridness suggests.