You have to love Kurando Mitsutake’s two most recent films. GUN WOMAN is a deliciously brutal and batshit insane take on LA FEMME NIKITA, and KARATE KILL is the tribute to grindhouse martial arts films that KILL BILL only wished it could be. So when a copy of one of his earlier films, SAMURAI AVENGER: THE BLIND WOLF, came my way I grabbed it. And while it’s not as good as his later films, it’s still a lot of fun.

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Blind Wolf (Kurando Mitsutake) is on a mission of revenge. Nathan Flesher (Domiziano Arcangeli, THE GHOSTMAKER, CAMP BLOOD 8: REVELATIONS ) raped and murdered his wife and killed their daughter. He’s been in jail for an unrelated crime but he gets out in 24 hours. But there is a lot of desert and seven trained assassins between Blind Wolf and Nathan. He may not have his sight, but he has his sword, his wits and the aptly named Drifter (Jeffrey James Lippold, BRIDES OF SODOM) for allies. It’s a fair fight.

SAMURAI AVENGER: THE BLIND WOLF borrows both from the traditional blind swordsman films such as the Zatoichi franchise and from Italian Westerns, which of course borrowed from samurai films. Mitsutake then adds a good dose of grindhouse-style gore and nudity and serves it up with sake and cheese.

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The assassins are a varied lot with some outrageous talents such as raising zombies or, my favourite, The Hypnotist (Mariko Denda, TALES FROM THE DEAD ) who can hypnotize men with her breasts, (they are indeed weapons of mass distraction).

The actual fight scenes are well done, and the gore is piled on via mostly practical effects with the occasional addition of CGI blood. Hands, arms, and feet are cut off, bowels are disembowelled. There’s even a baby flying out of its womb as SAMURAI AVENGER: THE BLIND WOLF gets progressively more over the top as it goes along.

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While it’s not everything it could have been, SAMURAI AVENGER: THE BLIND WOLF is an indication of Mitsutake’s potential and what was to come. It’s available from Synapse Films both on Blu-ray and streaming. It hasn’t been updated since 2010, but the film’s Facebook page is still up if you’re curious.

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