The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

First Thoughts on the Last Jedi


This is my reaction after just having seen The Last Jedi at the theater. If you haven’t seen the film then stop reading because spoilers and also I’m making reference to events in the film without explaining them to the point of view of someone who hasn’t seen the film.

Well, long story short, or perhaps I should say, long story excessively long, a big disappointment.

Going in to the film, I wanted to know who is Rey? Who is Snoke? What happened to Ahsoka, Kanan, and Space Aladdin aka Ezra? What is in the ancient books of the Jedi? How does Leia die (hopefully heroically)? Why is it time for the Jedi to end?

Are those crystal wolf things Loth-Wolves? Did Han survive his Disney death in the shaft?

And most of all, I wanted to see Luke kick some ass. And smarmy emo Adam Driver handed his.

Well if you were looking forward to any of those things, rest assured, none of those things are in this movie. None of them. For this manufactured committee-made story-line the awesome Clone Wars and Rebels and their bespoke characters were/are being terminated, why?

Kathleen Kennedy, you’re no George Lucas or Dave Filoni. And Rian Johnson, you’re no Lawrence Kasdan. Looking forward to the last half of the last season of Rebels, otherwise, I think that Kennedy, Abrams &co have just about driven this franchise over the shark as has happened to poor old Star Trek. Did anyone say “spore drive?”

Anyway, the Force went back to sleep, and nobody cared. There was zero audience interaction at the packed theatre. When I saw Thor Ragnarök and Rogue 1 at the same venue (AMD 12 Assembly Row Somerville, MA USA) , the crowd was very engaged, laughing, snarking cheering, and crying in the case of Rogue 1. Not so here, more’s the pity. 2 of 5 stars.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy


15 December, 2017 Posted by | movie, review, saga, samurai, scanlyze, Star Wars, The Last Jedi | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Blind Swordsman: Zatôichi

The Blind Swordsman:

by Henry Edward Hardy

Zatôichi is a humble blind masseur who is also (of course) a master swordsman. He is no saint and enjoys the simple pleasures of gambling, sake and the company of women. But when bad guys want to do badness, watch out! He cuts them down in fine style.The film follows the familiar genre of a master swordsman who travels about in humble circumstances and has some extraordinary disability. In the excellent Lone Wolf and Cub manga and movies, it is a disgraced samurai with a young son he carries around on his back. The Hong-Kong One-Armed Swordsman films are naturally about a master swordsman with one arm.

The Zatôichi character was the subject of a popular TV show from 1974-1979. This latest Zatôichi film is approximately the 25th of that name. It is the first made by and starring Takeshi Kitano.Kitano’s swordsmanship is swift and decisive and his physical control excellent. There is no sword-clashing, flourishing back and forth here; when Ichi finally draws his cane sword he strikes like a cobra: decisive, ruthless and using the entire strength of his body behind the blade.

Only one opponent marks him; the tragic ronin character Hattori Genosuke (Tadanobu Asano). Genosuke is a noble samurai fallen on hard times who enlists as a “bodyguard” with the local yakuza gang in order to buy medicine for his consumptive wife O-shino (Yui Natsukawa).

Ichi falls in with two ruthless ‘geishas’. One of whom is really a man, who is the brother of the other geisha. They are seeking revenge against the yakuza clan, which destroyed their family. A great deal of camera time is devoted to the brother who is unambiguously devoted to living as a woman even when the bad guys have been eliminated.

Kitano used color to distinguish between the various factions, and to give the principal characters signature distinguishing features such as his yellow hair and red sword-cane. And there is blood. Geysers of blood. Fire-engine red bursts of rather badly done computer-graphic blood. If you don’t like to see vast effusions of obviously fake blood this might not be the movie for you.

But for fans of the period samurai film, or anyone looking for something offbeat and entertaining, Zatôichi is not the worst film one could see.

Zatoichi – A Takeshi Kitano Film
Zatôichi (2003) (IMDB)
Zatoichi (wikipedia)
The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi/Sonatine (2004) (Rotten Tomatoes)

A version of this article appeared previously in Current Magazine and on Electric Current,

Copyright © 2006, 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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23 January, 2007 Posted by | archives, Japan, manga, media, movies, reviews, samurai, scanlyze, weird | 1 Comment