I hadn’t seen this one for 15 years or so until tonight. I vaguely remember liking one or some of the Hanzo films, but I’m guessing it wasn’t this one.
Hanzo is an interesting character. He understands his place in the magistrate hierarchy and medieval Japanese society, but follows his own rules. It bothers him that nobles, samurai, and the like are above the law. As such, he makes it a point to bring the law to them, often in ways that seem criminal, or at the very least, vigilante in nature.
Unfortunately, Sword of Justice seemed a bit disjointed to me. The action in particular seemed to suffer from poor choreography, poor execution, even the type of pan and scan sword fighting you’d expect from a television show. I couldn’t help but compare it to entries in the Zatoichi series in my mind, and this feels several notches below those.
On the flip-side there is a cool 70’s sexy vibe, with some pretty unique effects - in particular Hanzo’s (Shintaro Katsu) first meeting with Omino in the boat. What kept me from enjoying those elements was that the scenes started nonconsensually and ended with the woman saying “please don’t stop” - gross.
Still, I’m looking forward to rewatching the other entries in the series.