Sword of Justice     /    The Snare    /    Who's Got the Gold

I must be living a sheltered life. I was agog at the sexuality in these Hanzo the Razor film, until it finally dawned on me that these MUST BE, what we call, tongue-in-cheek. I've never seen Japanese exploitation films before, and still think that this might just be a fun-loving satirical stab at that genre. How it passed censors in somewhat 'stayed' Japan is a mystery - let's see - bound women with sexual techniques performed upon them to coerce testimony (a spinning sex chair seems Hanzo's tool of choice). Nudity and blood-spurting violence etc. Certainly I found these three films delightfully unique, reminding me of Matt Helm combined with Woody Allen's "What's Up Tiger Lily" and 70's TV cop shows - throw in extensive soft-porn and you are starting to approach "Hanzo". It kind of skirts both innocence and exploitation simultaneously leaving you grinning devilishly throughout. Much of the intended comedy surrounds Hanzo's penis which is put through rigorously torturous workouts to keep himself ready to interrogate the next available female witness. Hey, if multi-chinned and portly Shintaro Katsu can make it as a sex star then maybe I too still have a chance. This stuff is pure hilarity and each a dynamic cinema gem of its own. It's almost hard to accept that these actually exist - that may be their eventual drawing card after 30+ years.out of     

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Sword of Justice     /    Snare    /    Who's Got the Gold

 

 

 

(aka 'Goy˘kiba' or 'Goyoki' or 'Sword of Justice' or 'The Razor: Sword of Justice')

directed by Kenji Misumi
Japan 1972

 

  The first film in the notorious “Razor” trilogy, by manga legend Kazuo Koike, introduces Hanzo “The Razor” Itami (Shintaro Katsu), a renegade samurai cop whose investigative methods are only slightly more extreme than his sexual prowess. His refusal to sign a constabulary oath that his code of honor cannot accept puts him on a collision course with his corrupt superior and on the case of the Shogunate. With the loyal assistance of two former criminals, Hanzo defies orders, takes on all comers, and leaves female suspects begging for more. Known as screen icon Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman, Katsu produced this series along with Lone Wolf and Cub, also by Koike and starring Katsu's brother, Tomisaburo Wakayama. Geysers of blood, and graphic sexual content make Hanzo "The Razor" one of the most outrageous outlaws of samurai cinema.

Theatrical Release: January 18th, 1972 - Tokyo

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DVD Review: Home Vision (3-disc Boxset) - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

Available only in the Hanzo The Razor (Three-Disc) Boxed Set

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Distribution Home Vision (Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:29:24 
Video 2.40:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.40:1

Edition Details:

• Part of Boxset that contains all three films (Sword of Justice, The Snare, Who's Got the Gold)
• trailer for all three films of the Boxset
• 2-page liner notes essay by manga journalist Patrick Macias and Toshiro Mahiyama

DVD Release Date: April 19th, 2005

3 Keep Cases in Cardboard Box
Chapters: 16

 

 

Comments:

Noted at the beginning of the film: At 26 minutes, 13 seconds we lose about 25 seconds of audio and at 84 minutes and 15 seconds a few frames missing resulting in an uneven jump cut.

I applaud HVE's attention to detail in admitting this (above) as almost every other DVD production company in the world might simply 'let is slide'. Pretty sharp image quality in this first film, comparable to the best of the Zatoichi series (also by Home Vision). Original monaural audio, excellent subtitles, the three trailers as extras and some keen liner notes.  out of     

Gary W. Tooze

 





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(aka 'Goy˘kiba: Kamisori Hanz˘ jigoku zeme' or 'Razor 2: The Snare')

directed by Yasuzo Masumura
Japan 1973

 

  Written by the creator of the manga classic, Lone Wolf and Cub, and starring Shintaro Katsu, known to his hordes of fans as Zatoichi, Hanzo "The Razor" Itami, incorruptible protector of the common man, returns in his second and even more perverse mystery. Demonic abortion ceremonies, S&M Cults, corrupt government officials: it's all in a day's work for the renegade samurai cop who uses his swift sword—and even swifter and more formidable penis—to dispense his own brand of justice. The Snare has "all the killing and commotion" fans expect from The Razor and he delivers... with a vengeance.

Theatrical Release: August 11th, 1973 - Tokyo

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DVD Review: Home Vision (3-disc Boxset) - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

Available only in the Hanzo The Razor (Three-Disc) Boxed Set

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Home Vision (Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:28:45 
Video 2.40:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.50 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.40:1

Edition Details:

• Part of Boxset that contains all three films (Sword of Justice, The Snare, Who's Got the Gold)
• trailer for all three films of the Boxset
• 2-page liner notes essay by Michael Raine

DVD Release Date: April 19th, 2005

3 Keep Cases in Cardboard Box
Chapters: 16

 

 

Comments:

The same level of sharpness and color balance as The Sword of Justice - super widescreen appeal and moments of playful sexual demonstrations and samurai violence. Liner notes and the three trailers. Great fun to own - out of  

Gary W. Tooze

 





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(aka 'Goy˘kiba: Oni no Hanz˘ yawahada koban' or 'Haunted Gold' or 'Razor 3: Who's Got the Gold?')

directed by Yoshio Inoue
Japan 1974

 

  From the pages of Kazuo Koike's classic manga flies the incorruptible samurai cop Hanzo Itami. Know for his "nasty habits,” fans of “The Razor” wouldn’t have it any other way. Orgying blind high priests, desperate royal wives, corruption, and conspiracy are all part of the mystery Hanzo uncovers at the Shogunate treasury. Appropriate procedures? That’s not the way Edo’s most well-endowed constable conducts his unique brand of police business. Who’s Got The Gold?, starring legendary Shintaro Katsu (Zatoichi) brings the notorious the notorious "Razor" trilogy to a rousing climax, with extreme swordplay and Hanzo's even more extreme "interrogations" of his female suspects.

Theatrical Release: February 9th, 1974

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DVD Review: Home Vision (3-disc Boxset) - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

Available only in the Hanzo The Razor (Three-Disc) Boxed Set

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Home Vision Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:23:29 
Video 2.40:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.67 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.40:1

Edition Details:

• Part of Boxset that contains all three films (Sword of Justice, The Snare, Who's Got the Gold)
• trailer for all three films of the Boxset
• 2-page liner notes essay by Michael Raine

DVD Release Date: April 19th, 2005
3 Keep Cases in Cardboard Box
Chapters: 16

 

 

Comments:

Ditto the quality in the first two releases (above). Bottom line for me is that I am very happy with these films - I probably can't show friends in 'mixed company' but maybe segments to bring some smiles. This is pretty cool stuff, if not following any political correctness. I recommend as long as you know what you are getting yourself into. out of       

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Another unlucky (lucky) lass is bound into Hanzo's spinning sex chair...

 

 


 

 


 

 

 


Recommended Reading for Martial Arts/Samurai Genre Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

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Distribution Home Vision (Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC

 




 

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