In the realm of Western films, cult classics like The Magnificent Seven and A Fistful of Dollars have remained mainstays of the “must-watch” category for many years now. Before that, however, there was Akira Kurosawa’s impressive repertoire of Japanese samurai movies, of which Seven Samurai and Yojimbo were said to have inspired the above respective remakes for a different audience.
Since then, the influence of Japanese culture on the Western cinematic world has been a constant variable, inspiring many more works to come.
On Youtube, one such example would be blast Inc.’s fictitious Zatoichi vs Predator trailer, which also doubles up as a non-profit fan movie. Taking on a sepia tone, the masterfully-crafted video successfully brings across the perfect blend of the sci-fi and jidaigeki troupe – an impressive feat, considering how jarringly contrasting they are from each other.
For the uninitiated, jidaigeki refers to a genre of film, television, video game, and theatre in Japan that literally translates to mean “period dramas”. Take a look at the Zatoichi vs Predator reel, and everything about it practically screams of this.
As the name suggests, the short film stars blind assassin Zatoichi, the well-known titular character of one of Japan’s longest-running series of the same name. Shot in an old-film aesthetic, it’s highly reminiscent of an Akira Kurosawa classic, with samurai, fight scenes, dramatic pauses, and all-around good cinematography aplenty.
Elsewhere, Zatoichi vs Predator certainly doesn’t disappoint as well. Sword exchanges are well-choreographed, a graceful dance amongst bloodshed. The camera work gives a clear indicator of the character’s surroundings, and their standing positions in an impending face-off. An eclectic mix of personalities – such as the Mysterious Ninja, and other Special Forces Ninjas Iron Jaw, Binocular, and the like – are thrown into the mix, backed with intense battle music that seems to take on a distinct Western-Japanese style.
The best part? Everything unfolds in a silent manner, with nary a conversation between the cast, or a single spoken word from them, save for the instance before the epic reveal, “You…are not human.” In particular, the still scene of the Mysterious Ninja’s straw hat being slashed apart exuded some serious Sanjuro vibes, where the tense silent slowly melts into undisguised shock at the final fight scene.
Bravo, blast Inc. Thank you for the masterful mesh of two movie classics from two different worlds, a finely-woven creation that transcends the boundary of film genres. Now, it’d be a dream come true if the fan-made reel is to be funded, but alas, the high IP cost of both Zatoichi and Predator stands in our way.