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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ogami Itto and Daigoro live to die on the Assassin's Road
I have to wonder what it is like for those who have not read the manga epic "Lone Wolf and Cub" by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima when they watch these movie adaptations from the 1970s. Those of us who read all 142 episodes have the advantage of recognizing the various stories along the Assassin's Road that Koike works into each script. Consequently we are perfectly...
Published on November 9, 2004 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars great show lousy package
5 stars for the show
-4 stars for the package/ publisher
Total 1 star.
I live in Japan and love this classic old tv show. Here it is held in much higher esteem than the movie of the same name (long available in the US). I was very happy when I found out about the recently released US edition, as my Old Japanese comprehension is not that great. I ordered...
Published on January 7, 2009 by G. Johnson


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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ogami Itto and Daigoro live to die on the Assassin's Road, November 9, 2004
By 
I have to wonder what it is like for those who have not read the manga epic "Lone Wolf and Cub" by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima when they watch these movie adaptations from the 1970s. Those of us who read all 142 episodes have the advantage of recognizing the various stories along the Assassin's Road that Koike works into each script. Consequently we are perfectly content to enjoy the episodic nature of these films, whereas the uninitiated might be bothered by the lack of a plot, especially if they have seen the first two films in the series and are expecting the Yagyu to be more of a presence.

"Kozure Ôkami: Shinikazeni mukau ubaguruma" ("Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades") is the third of the six films starring Tomisaburo Wakayama as the assassin for hire and Akihiro Tomikawa as his cub. Father and son continue along the Assassin's Road and there are three episodes from the manga that constitute major sections of the film, along with brief moments culled from other stories (e.g., the river crossing from #53 "Drifting Shadows" and using Daigoro drowning in a river to set up a kill from #2 "A Father Knows His Child's Heart as Only a Child Can Know His Father's"). In fact, when you spot something that does not seem familiar from the manga, it will send you scurrying to your Dark Horse Comics collection to see if you have simply forgotten it.

The first major section is from "Wandering Samurai" (#46), where a mother and daughter are brutally raped by a group of "Watari-kashi," who murder their escort. When Magomura Kanbei (Go Kato) shows up and see what has happened he kills the women and then makes the assailants draw lots so that he can kill one of them, who will then be blamed for the atrocity. However, Ogami Itto has seen what has happened and the best moment in this film comes AFTER the inevitable duel between our hero and Kanbei, which involves a philosophical discussion on the true way of the warrior.

We move directly to the second major section, which adapted "The Virgin and the Whore" (#18). A young peasant woman who has been sold into prostitution kills her pimp when he tries to take advantage of her. Lone Wolf and Cub are staying at the same inn and when she tries to hide in their room, she comes under Ogami Itto's protection. The "Boohachimono" that run the brothel want to punish her, but our hero refuses to allow it and agrees to take her place instead when their leader, Torizo (Yuko Hamada), demands satisfaction. He is then subjected to the punishment of being repeatedly dunked upside down in a tub of water and then being beaten black and blue by bamboo sticks. As a result the young girl is given her freedom.

This becomes a set up for the big fight at the end, as Torizo sets up Ogami Itto with an Elder who wants to hire the assassin Lone Wolf. Unfortunately our hero has a prior commitment, which requires the assembling of dozens of samurai and other warriors to try and take down Lone Wolf and Cub. The set up is slightly different, but the battle is essentially what we have in "The Yagyu Letter" (#50). This has to be the climax for the film because you can count the number of people still alive in the film on the fingers of one hand.

By this point Wakayama has the part down well past the point of cold. His face makes Buster Keaton look like Jim Carey. Add to this how the choreography for the sword fights is well above average for this genre and you can see its appeal to fans. True to the manga, there are several instances of nudity and blood spurting (but much more of the latter). What is missing is the sense of Ogami Itto's mission, which was set up in the first film in the series. This time around Lone Wolf is killing a lot more people to stay alive and to right wrongs than he is to make another 500 ryo. But then we had no clue at that point what those accumulated fees were for. Keep in mind that these first four movies were made in 1972, which was only two years after the first story of "Kozure Ôkami" was published.

I know these movies were edited and dubbed into "Shogun Assassin" in 1980, but just take the high road and avoid that butchery in favor of the original sextet of films: (1) "Kozure Ôkami: Kowokashi udekashi tsukamatsuru" ("Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance," 1972); (2) "Kozure Ôkami: Sanzu no kawa no ubaguruma" ("Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx," 1972); (3) "Kozure Ôkami: Shinikazeni mukau ubaguruma" ("Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades," 1972); (4) "Kozure Ôkami: Oya no kokoro ko no kokoro" ("Lone Wolf and Cub: In Peril," 1972); (5) "Kozure Ôkami: Meifumando" ("Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Land of Demons," 1973); and (6) "Kozure Ôkami: Jigoku e ikuzo! Daigoro" ("Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell," 1974). The above does not include literal translations of each Japanese title but rather the name given their most recent U.S. releases (I believe the original U.S. releases in the 1970s just numbered these as "Swords of Vengeance" I-VI). The literal translation of this third film in the series would be "Lone Wolf and Cub: Perambulator Against the Winds of Death," so you can see why that would not be the way to go.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an exotic, lush, exaggerated world of Japanese and Samurai absolutes, July 5, 2005
By 
James Neville (Katy (Houston), TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In many ways, this is my favorite of the Lone Wolf & Cub movies. It was the first I ever saw, wherein I was trying to figure out the whole premise as it went along.

This one starts on a river trip, scenic, but I had no idea where it was going. I could not BELIEVE it when the hero cut down the first 3 assassins in the first 5 minutes... in an otherwise quiet forest, where he and his son were taking a "bathroom break". I replayed the scene twice, including slow-mo on the flourish with which he clears the blood from his sword and sheaths it.

I LOVE these movies and have watched them again and again. The photography is bright and lush when our heroes are traveling in the country. The spoken Japanese is abrupt and guttural (men) and pitched and inflected (women), and subtitles are placed well for non-distracting readability. I find myself grunting monosyllables (ooshh! yyoot!) in empathy. The costumes and side characters are bright, colorful, and medieval-Japanese folkloric (i.e., like watching "authentic" costume in a Shakespeare play).

It's an exotic, lush, exaggerated world of Japanese and Samurai absolutes that never really existed was but whose principles still appeal to some part of us. Lone Wolf & Cub are unique among Samurai movies for their exaggeration AND their not taking themselves TOO seriously.

I particularly like two things in this movie. The first is the touching interactions between father and son in simple settings like eating or washing. The second is the woman leader of the entertainment band which recruits the hero's help. She has got the best accent and attitude I have ever seen in a Japanese woman character! For that matter, NONE of the women leads in Lone Wolf & Cub movies are exactly shy, retiring types.

Be warned all the Lone Wolf & Cub movies have graphic gore (spraying blood, death throes, severed heads) and sex (rape scenes, bare bosoms).

I agree that internal and night scenes are darkly lit, but I found only a few hard to follow.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing, geat film., March 20, 1999
By A Customer
An astonishing, great film. Wakayama Tomisaburo does not just act, he embodies. To me, this amazing actor is "Lone Wolf" of the Kazure Okami comic book series (itself a masterpiece). I can never get enough of looking at him. There is a simple scene in this film, in which Lone Wolf and his son are sitting in an inn drinking tea. The silence, the graciousness and subtle charm of the gestures, the unhurried and measured quality of the shot, create a moving experience for the viewer. Most people focus on the violence of these films -- which is done beautifully -- but for me,the most important thing is the simple, pure, and usually wordless characterization of the relationship between father and son.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Way of the Warrior..., April 22, 2002
By 
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This 3rd entry in the Series is one of the best. There are several plots involved, more or less revolving around the Bushido code and what are the correct actions and responsibilities of the true Warrior, the true Samurai.
Ogami states that he and his young son, Daigoro, "live the life of Demons, without rules" but in truth, Ogami Itto is a true warrior and, although an implacable and remorseless assassin, he strictly follows the Warrior's code of behavior.
This is demonstrated in this film when he, at the outset, declines to duel with another honorable, though disgraced, Samurai; and later, when Itto saves a farm girl from servitude as a prostitute and indures the Water & Buri Buri torture (don't ask) in her place.
Very stylized and as bloody and violent as the rest, I found the six-gun packing villain a bit incongruous (six guns in the 17th Century?), and the series steps far into the fantastic with Itto literally slaying an army of opponents with a trickier than we supposed Baby Cart and a two-sword frenzy of slashing and stabbing, chopping and skewering dozens of enemies (with the by now familiar gushes and sprays of blood).
But, what the hell, James Bond can kill em by the dozen, so why not our Master of the Suiouryu Horse-Slaying Technique, Ogami Itto? And in the end, there is an elegant duel with the disgraced Samurai and we learn the true Way of the Warrior is to "live to die". Great liner notes, and good subtitles help to explain what you need to know as background to the story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Series, February 2, 2002
By 
Darryl C. Patrick (Honolulu, HI, United States) - See all my reviews
This entry into the Lone Wolf and Cub series, was quite simply, excellent. From baby Daigoro, who is truly a son that any father could not help but be proud of for his uncommon coolness and spiritual strength, to the Samurai of great personal skill who was unjustly banished from his clan. After showing superior skill and loyalty, he's cast out of his respectful samurai position and ultimately gets caught up against Ogami Itto after being forced to work a less than dignified job to survive. Through his trials, he still seeks to know the true Way of the Samurai, since he's confused as to what that means. As fate would have it, the actions he thought epitomized a Warrior were the very actions that got him banished in the first place. I thought that this conflict and his "High-Noon" Showdown with Ogami near the end where Ogami finally answers his questions about what being a SAmurai is all about and Daigoro's continued coming of age made this film most memorable, along with the skills displayed by Ogami Itto. The man doesn't miss any tricks. If a great action/Martial Arts flick with lessons in honor are for you, You won't want to miss this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely violent. For people who like John Woo films., January 20, 1999
By A Customer
If you're a fan of Martial arts movies and/or violent westerns like The Wild Bunch, any of the videos in the Lone Wolf & Cub series will be enjoyable. They're about a rogue Samurai travelling the Japanese countryside with his infant son, seeking revenge on the villains who murdered his wife and soiled his once-proud name. He finds opposition almost everywhere he goes.The plot is above average and the swordplay scenes are amazing. Start with this video, since I believe it's the first in the series (of 6, I think). By the way, it's in Japanese with English subtitles.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALMOST INDESCRIBABLE AS TO HOW COOL THIS MOVIE IS, April 21, 1999
By A Customer
Its the only Lone Wolf with Cub movie I've been able to get my hands on so far; and I've heard this one isnt even the best in the series, and its fantastic. I look forward to seeing the other films. Its nice to know that there is a series of movies with style and substance about the samurai. Seven Samurai and the Yojimbo are great movies, but the tone of Lone Wolf with Cub is different.
Here, you get a samurai movie as if Sergio Leone settled down and lived in Japan for a period of his life. Its got power and flair in its visuals and the characters breathe. The relationships dont ring a false note. You believe that he loves that little boy, and you know that little boy looks up to him. And, you damn well know that if anyone messes with either one of them, heads are going to roll.
This movie was just absolutely outstanding from start to finish. I look forward to owning and devouring the entire series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have the "red sun" version of this which is basiaclly a replica of the animeego one, August 5, 2006
The picture quality is as good as it gets and is anamorphically widescreened. It also has liner notes like the others in the series and lets you in on semi-important things like the Blackened Teeth. Time to upgrade your video tape and get this in the new and used section for $5.99 like I did.

I have to say that this is by far the most graphic in violence of these movies I have seen. And while one scene I didn't think was needed, it was worth it to see the aftermath.

This movie I would say is overall the best of the 3 I have seen. When Ogami is being tortured, I think it is my favorite scene of Lone Wolf and Cub. How many dudes do you know of on screen that can be beaten down until unconscious and you still think they are tougher becuase of it? But then when he starts slicing people up again, you know why you felt that way about him. And when Ogami has to face an entire army, will he stand a chance?

I have to say that I wasn't expecting this to be a shoot-em-up, it still hasd plenty of action and holds the spot for my favorite of the series so far.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This blade for hire, June 18, 2006
Ogami Itto is an expert swordsman, a ronin, an outcast mercenary who once served as the official executioner of the shogunate. Then something happened - I believe his wife was murdered, although the movie doesn't give details - and Itto, the Lone Wolf, now travels the countryside with son Daigoro, the Cub, in a niftily tricked out baby cart, selling his services to the highest bidder.

LONE WOLF AND CUB: BABY CART TO HADES is the second Lone Wolf & Cub movies I've seen and I've enjoyed both of them tremendously. Even the confusing stuff doesn't really get in the way of appreciating this great action movie. Not only aren't we told why Ogami (Tomisaburo Wakayama) is an outcast, the film also throws a lot of feudal Japanese history at you, not a whole lot of which sticks. Japan, as I gather from the story, is a political hodge-podge, with a distant shogun and a number of local feudal lords, one of whom Lone Wolf is engaged to assassinate - for his standard fee of 500 pieces of gold. There are other bad guys who carry repeating pistols, so I guess this takes places sometime during the mid-19th century. Ogami is a samurai, though, and the Code as developed through him in this movie disdains guns. The True Warrior doesn't use them. My favorite mystery, though, concerns the different techniques used by samurai. Ogami uses the Suiouryu Style, or the Horse-Slaying Technique. The identification of it is used by his enemies to tell when he was the one who made one of the numerous corpses that populate this film.

The plot is functionally unexceptional. Ogami travels with Daigoro. While at an inn Ogami defends a young woman who murdered a man who was going to sell her into prostitution. To save her, Ogami undergoes a ritual torture in her stead. His torturers want a local governor murdered. This blade for hire. The governor has resources of his own to call to his defense - sleek and silent ninjas, samurai, gunners, archers, and hordes of sword wielding foot soldiers. Can our baby-toting hero match an army sent to stop him?

LONE WOLF AND CUB: BABY CART TO HADES is pretty nonstop, exotic and engaging, with a charismatic star and son. In many ways it's similar to the proficient gunslinger coming into and cleaning up Dodge City, with the advantage of the expanded cinematic possibilities offered by sword fights. I can't wait to watch the rest of this series. Highest recommendation.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet another great Misumi Kenji production, July 10, 2004
By 
J. Holt (Portland, OR, USA) - See all my reviews
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Although I heard 1 & 2 were the cream of the crop (cooked down further into "Shogun Assassin") -- it really pays to see all of the director Misumi Kenji's work on this series. #3 is quite good as it spirals out ever wider and wider telling the story of a series of job Ogami must perform to repay a debt. The way the director handles action and gore is simply stunning -- poetic but fun. Sadly, Misumi does not work on the next, 4th installment.
One story (the farmer girl) is adapted from Vol. 3 of the manga, story "The Virgin and the Whore". As with the comic, the movie provides information and insight into the Tokugawa Period and its customs. Those who enjoy this movie series should pick up Dark Horse Comic's manga series (28 volumes, each at $9.95, 300 pages each) -- the manga is beautiful and exciting reading.
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