Lone Wolf & Cub Complete [Blu-ray]
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He is the most feared assassin in all of Japan, known only as the Lone Wolf. Pushing his young son along the back-roads of feudal Japan in a heavily armed baby-cart, he strikes fear into the black hearts of evil-doers everywhere -- as long as someone can come up with his fee. Nothing, not the legions of a mad shogun, hordes of Yagyu ninja, or even the undead, can stop him! Now for the first time, all six films in spectacular High Definition!
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Top Customer Reviews
Upon researching martial arts films, my husband discovered that it was created from this series and we decided to buy the first movie. Back then, this was not readily available for rent anywhere and we were obliged to buy it if we wanted to see it. After the first pilot film, we ran out and bought the other five. Not only are the original films more cohesive than the chopped up Shogun Assassin version, but the cinematography is spectacular, capturing the presentation of those old classic Samurai movies from the 60's but in color and with an artistry to the scene compositions. I have been disappointed by some of the more contemporary Samurai flicks; some of the new ones have a rather disjointed filming style that leaves me feeling there was little to connect the story between (often well choreographed) fight scenes and I want a good story to flesh things out. There have been a few good new ones but for the most part, I like the old classics.
I mention this because there are many versions of the Lone Wolf and Cub series; it was has been reproduced for television in the 1970's with the same director (Kenji Misumi) but different actors than the series of full length films and again in early 2000 with a completely different cast and crew. My review is of the original films made starting in 1972 and on through 1974 starring Tomisaburô Wakayama as the protagonist/hero Ogami Itto.
The quality is simply AMAZING, very BRIGHT and very detailed.
Worth every penny, I would have paid $100+ for the same series.
This is the japanese version with english subs (as it should be) and not the "Shogun Assassin" which combined 2 films into one.
These films deserve a blue ray treatment because the photography of the Japanese countryside is quite good.
There are six films in the series and all are good. This is a solid set of disks for samurai fans.
In real life the lead actor, Tomisaburo Wakayama, is the brother of the more famous Shintaro Katsu who is the lead in the 26 films of the Zatoichi series. The two brothers were both good actors their series are both classics.
For reference, I watched these blurays my QuadHD (1440p) S-IPS monitor with full color gamut utilizing nVidia's edge enhancement for 1440p video instead of 1080p. Its "fake" 1440p, but trust me, it really makes everything sharper. 1080p blurays, at full bit-rate, look absolutely phenomenal. All this techno-babble merely means I have a great setup for image evaluation. (I'm also a graphic designer and artist, so I have a trained eye for detail.) (Not trying to humblebrag, just giving some credentials before I rave how AWESOME this bluray is.)
This video transfer seems to have an excellent bit-rate, I notice no compression or artifacts. And this is saying a lot considering each of the bluray discs has (3) movies squeezed into it, each movie weighing in at about 13GB. Some blurays I have "backedup" on my hard-drive consume upwards of 35GB per single movie. But all of the included movies in this collection, even being only 13GB in size, look wonderful. (Do yourself a favor, and forget about compressing them, they deserve maximum bit-rate. The main reason I didn't...errrr..."borrow" these new releases off of the internet is that this collection is so awesome I do not want someone else's encoded and compressed version, I want every bit of perfection that I can get)
(There are no bluray extras, which I am HAPPY about as the fullest possible amount of disc capacity was spent on presenting the max quality version of the actual film, a great decision/coincidence in my book. I very, very rarely enjoy any "extras" at all as it is....)
The bit-rate of these movies stays well above 20,000, even approaching 30,000 at times. This bluray transfer used original film footage and employed DNR, digital noise reduction. DNR gives a smoother, crisper image while sacrificing fine film grain and detail. However, the image for this Lone Wolf and Club collection is absolutely superb. The colors are very rich and detail is retained rather very well. You will not find the extremely fine detail/film grain as a modern movie shot on a digital 4k RED camera, so this is just about the best possible image we can get. This is as good as a transfer as I could have asked for; remember, this is a FOREIGN film made in 1972 and is a CULT classic (small market/demand), films having those three criteria very rarely get such a good bluray treatment. I am so glad that some idiot did not get a hold of this wonderful movie collection and mess it up. i would have been pissed. Good job, Animeigo! (No, I don't work for them....)
This is the definitive Lone Wolf and Cub collection. Perhaps one day we will get a 4k release! The mega hit classics like North by Northwest already have been scanned in at 8k and will be released soon in 4k format when 4k tvs go mainstream. We are coming up on that very soon. We probably will see this collection in 4k format ONE DAY, but that's going to be a loooooooong time; probably much longer than it took to bring it to bluray. And the jump from bluray to 4k, while very noticeable and pleasing, is not equal to the giant leap as from DVD (480p) to Bluray (1080p). 4k has 4 times the resolution of 1080p, but you start to have the issue of "diminishing returns", meaning that, while the resolution is 4 times more, your eye will sort of "max out", the picture will be better but definitely not 4 times better. Additionally, we are also limited by the quality of the original film masters/copies.
Ahhhh...I almost forgot the AUDIO! There is not much to say, its a standard 2.0 stereo mix, as was very common place back in those days. If you have the means to do so, or are an audiophile like me, try messing around with some surround sound emulators. You'd be surprised at the pleasing effects that tactfully adjusted surround sound can bring out of a 2.0 mix. (Just don't go overboard with it, maybe just use quadraphonic settings....) Maybe in the future we can get a 5.1 mix, but that would require quite some additional cost on the part of the publisher. However, if decades into the future this collection is released again in even higher quality, some sort of 5.1 mix will HAVE to be created....
Also, in case you are wondering, there is no English dub, which is of absolutely no consequence since I would personally consider that an offense to use while watching this movie. Part of the wonder of these movies is the ethnography of Edo Japan you get, of which the original Japanese language is critical. Apparently the Japanese spoken in this film is the equivalent of "Old English" for us; I had a good friend from Nagasaki, Japan watch the first film and he HAD to have subtitles on...surprising....
Anyway, to summarize, the video quality is superb, the audio quality is what it is (original 2.0 stero mix, not much can be done with that....) and I am very happy with this Lone Wolf and Cub collection. Buy it! Its time to share this with your friends and the world!