Hanzo The Razor opens with the titular hero making a total mess out of the ceremonial “swearing in of the samurai”, by calling out his chief and entire order, on their hypocracy. He then tortures himself so hard that he gets a boner.. in front of his boss (try that at work sometime). After which he goes out and beats the shit out of some random (?) people. Then he starts pouring boiling water on his penis and beating it with an iron bar. This is before he begins to do the cock push ups that Tenacious D could only theorize about. He accomplishes this by fucking a bag of rice.
This all comes before minute twenty.
Hanzo The Razor is a pretty fucked up movie.
But is it any good?
As half of you have gone out and beg borrowed or stolen a copy of the film by this point, and the other half have “Unfollowed” this blog, the question may seem moot. But let us persevere anyway.
Hanzo The Razor was a direct response to the American exploitation movement of the seventies. The makers of the film, explicitly wanted their own Dirty Harry/ Shaft. The only Japanese film similar to it that leaps to mind is Sonny Chiba’s Street Fighter movies. But they have the crucial distinction of centering around an “amoral” character while Hanzo is focused on a hyper moral one. A distinction whose exploration belongs to someone with an infinite patience for rhetoric and more time on their hands then I (if such a thing is possible).
But allow me to frame that. The films these guys were making anyway, were enough to get launched into a the worst of the 42nd street dives. Hanzo The Razor is what happens when they “tried” to be bad.
As a result, Hanzo The Razor: Sword Of Justice can be a hard movie to judge. Much of it is incomprehensible and violent (true not the damning phrases here that they might be on other blogs). And Calling its gender politics “iffy” is an understatement. After all, this is a movie that makes a major plot point out of the fact that Hanzo is able to fuck any woman into submission, thanks to the grievous damage he’s done to his penis (Note trying this at home is not advised. On incalculable different levels). This leads to scenes whose painstaking intricacy and jaw dropping creativity is perhaps best left up to the imagination (Including one that involves a net. Say no more.)
Still there is no denying that Hanzo’s notoriety and pleasure come from the fact that we spend so much of its running time watching things that are so utterly ghastly. Punctuated with occasional hardcore, badass, Samuari Ass whoopings. Hanzo The Razor doesn’t merely creep beyond the pale but goes sailing past it with a serenity not normally seen outside of the oeuvre of John Waters. Whether this is high praise or a damning comdemnation I leave to you.