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Posts Tagged ‘Tomisaburo Wakayama’

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

tn_babycarttohadesWhen you’re the shogun’s executioner and your wife is murdered and you’re set up and your life is ruined and you choose to take your son on the demon’s path and become an elite assassin for hire, you do alot of wandering around having adventures. Part 3 of the LONE WOLF AND CUB series (or, if you prefer it dubbed and edited to be dumber, part 2 of the SHOGUN ASSASSIN series) is episodic in a good way. They cross a couple different enemies, get offered a couple different gigs, get into some shit with the Yagyu Clan, and their nemesis Retsudo is mentioned but not seen, like The Emperor in STAR WARS.

On their travels, Ogami Itto (Tomisaburo Wakayama) and son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) are jumped by a bunch of ninjas, so he kills them. (SPOILER)

Along a road there are some watari-kachi, mercenaries, drifters who go around trying to get gigs, often just “hired for show when someone needs more men in their procession” because the kind of lords they work for can’t afford to hire them full time. (see also: film critics) They’re sitting around with Master Kanbei (Go Kato, SWORD OF THE BEAST), who they consider uptight, so they try to take him down a notch. “You’re really peculiar. You don’t drink, you don’t touch women.” They don’t get him because they figure the only reason it’s worth having their job is to “have fun,” which we quickly realize means to rape women along the highway.

Master Kanbei chooses not to participate when these pricks run off to attack a passing mother and daughter, knocking out their male servant. But he doesn’t stop them either – not until he hears them brag about who they’re all working for. Then Kanbei intervenes in a very calm, business-like manner: he kills the servant, then the two victims, then makes the three mercenaries draw straws so that one can be killed and blamed for the murders. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Loose Canon: LONE WOLF AND CUB: SWORD OF VENGEANCE & BABYCART AT THE RIVER STYX vs. SHOGUN ASSASSIN

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Every now and then I write a more-in-depth-than-usual study of a movie I consider important and influential in the evolution of Badass Cinema, a movie I believe most fans of the genre would love and all should see and have an opinion on. I call this series THE LOOSE CANON.

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In 1980, a violent samurai movie called SHOGUN ASSASSIN hit American shores. It is the story of Lone Wolf, an assassin trying to avenge the murder of his wife by the Shogun he used to work for. He travels Japan by foot pushing a babycart that  carries a number of weapons and his son Daigoro – who also narrates the movie – and eventually kills the Shogun’s brother. With its weird tone and garish violence, and coming right at the beginning of the decade when Americans became obsessed with Japanese traditions like karate and ninjas, the movie took on a legendary status in pop culture that lasts to this day. Its dialogue and primitive synthesizer score were heavily sampled on the seminal 1995 hip hop album Liquid Swords by GZA, and also heard in KILL BILL VOLUME 2 as little Bebe’s chosen bed time movie.

The one problem with SHOGUN ASSASSIN: it’s an insultingly dumbed down bastardization of two excellent 1972 Japanese films, LONE WOLF AND CUB: SWORD OF VENGEANCE and LONE WOLF AND CUB: BABYCART AT THE RIVER STYX (the first two installments in a six movie series). (read the rest of this shit…)