Zatoichi Challenged – 1967
In this Japanese actioner, the brave blind swordsman Zatoichi is assigned to escort a little boy to his father’s home. En route he is set upon by five killers. Using his super-sensitive powers of perception, he kills them. Later an enigmatic samurai joins them and helps fight off a second gang. Eventually they make it to the boy’s hometown where they discover that the father is being held hostage by smugglers. It is then that the mysterious fighter reveals that he is a government agent assigned to destroy the gang. Zatoichi agrees to help him if the samurai will return the favor. He cannot, and so the sightless fighter challenges the agent to a duel.
A dying woman begs Zatoichi to reunite her son with his father, who is working in a small town. But when the son and father meet, Zatoichi finds out that the father has been forced to work for gangsters. Using his lightning sword, Zatoichi takes on the crime boss in a relentless blend of action, violence, and comedy that makes Zatoichi Challenged one of the best in the long-running series.