If you like action, suspense and the uneasy feeling you get when you see a blind man handling sharp cutlery, the Zatoichi series is definitely the one for you.
What makes a movie "awesome"? Sometimes, it is something subtle, like a gratuitous shower scene or a beheading. Sometimes it is a catch phrase like "Go ahead, make my day" or "If you think I'm eating THAT off your thighs, you're crazy". Most times, though, what makes a movie awesome is nihilistic violence doled out by a charismatic individual. And, they don't even need to be very charismatic; although, as seen with Dolemite, some charisma is absolutely necessary.
You can measure the awesomeness of a movie using the unit of Bronson. Eraser measures nine Bronsons, mostly due to the rail gun and the scene with the alligators. Death Wish is another nine Bronson movie. Rip Torn's drunken bank burglary, if it were a movie, would probably rate a nine and a half. Tonya Harding's life is a constant eight Bronsons. Avatar is three Bronsons, due to the fact that it's a FUCKING CARTOON--GET A GRIP, PEOPLE!
The Japanese created a character that would be in awesome movie after awesome movie; and, did it well before the seventies, when we as a culture were just exploring the phenomena of awesome.
The character of Zatoichi was created in 1962.
As a blind swordsman, you would expect the man to spend his time flailing about, slashing every living and inanimate thing within the reach of his sword. You would be very wrong. Zatoichi is uncannily accurate with a blade, using senses that we cannot conceive of.