Keep Swinging That Sword, Ito! — Shogun Assassin 2: Lighting Swords of Death

December 8, 2008

d.  Kenji Misumi

Finally, after many many years, the Lone Wolf movies are making it to the states. While Parts 1 (Sword of Vengeance) and 2 (Baby Cart at the River Styx) of the Japanese movie series were spliced together into Shogun Assassin (1983), Part 3, Baby Cart to Hades, has been released as the sequel.

So, Which Movie Are We Watching?

So, Which Movie Are We Watching?

Lone Wolf and Cub, based on a manga, are an ex-Shogunate executioner and his son who have been wrongly disgraced and stripped of their titles; they wander Japan hiring themselves out to those in need, maintaining the Samurai code while slow-burning their way to vengeance against those who wronged them.

Ito Ogami, looking fit for a pro-golfer, waddles his way through Japan like a blind man, helping a prostitute gain her freedom by taking her place in a weird torture that involves being hung upside-down over a barrel of water while henchmen beat him while chanting “Buri Buri!”. Huh. After this, the madame of the prostitute hires Lone Wolf to kill a corrupt Lord for various reasons. Ultimately, Lone Wolf takes out the Lord’s bodyguards, an expert gunsmith and swordsman, and confronts the Lord’s army in an insane final battle pitting the one man versus hundreds.

This series has its pleasures — mainly the jetting of arterial spray when bodies are cut open, the craftiness of Lone Wolf outwitting the hordes out to get him, and that James Bond-ian baby cart that is decked with an incredible amount of hidden weapons and surprises.

Hey, That’s Cheating!

Hey, That’s Cheating!

While the original Japanese film is welcome, Shogun Assassin benefitted from having all the best bits of Parts 1 and 2 crammed into an 80 minute film, so this film tends to drag when Ito Ogami isn’t slicing up ninjas or cowardly swordsmen. What’s great though is that the quality of the image has been much improved over the crappy VHS bootlegs that had been the source of crappy DVDs in years past.

Overall, an entertaining film that has some lags in action, but is worth watching.

** stars.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: