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Shogun Assassin: 5 Film Collector's Set

4.4 out of 5 stars 163 customer reviews

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(Nov 11, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

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 hearts of evil-doers everywhere - as long as someone can come up with his fee. Nothing, not even the legions of a mad shogun, hordes of Yagyu ninjas, or the undead, can stop him! This collector's set contains the complete series on 5 DVDs. From the explosive first film that became a cult-classic, to the snow-capped finale, there is never a dull moment for this father and son team.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Kayo Matsuo, Minoru Ôki, Shôgen Nitta, Shin Kishida
  • Directors: Robert Houston
  • Writers: Robert Houston, David Weisman, Bobby White, Goseki Kojima, Kazuo Koike
  • Producers: David Weisman, Hisaharu Matsubara
  • Format: Box set, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Animeigo
  • DVD Release Date: November 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001EAWMFQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,587 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Shogun Assassin: 5 Film Collector's Set" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. M. Bainbridge on September 7, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Unlike what some of the other reviews have stated, this is not spliced together episodes from a Japanese tv show. Actually, it is spliced from the first two (there are six in the series) Lone Wolf and Cub movies: Sword of Vengeance and Baby Cart at the River Styx. It is also not a kung fu film because for one thing, kung fu is a martial art form from China and this movie is from Japan and is involving samurai (who don't practice kung fu).

Unfortunately, taking two movies and cutting them down to one movie half as long hurts the story of the films. In the original films, the Shogun didn't just up and decide that he was threatened by Ogami Itto and decide to kill his family. The story is more involved and the viewer has a much stronger emotional connection with the characters of the story when watching the original versions of the film in two separate parts.

Also, the Lone Wolf and Cub series has seen a recent release onto DVD by AnimEigo and the picture and sound quality on these new DVD transfers is astounding when compared to this film. It literally looks as if it is a recent release instead of a film from the 70s. Additionally, these DVD releases contain the original Japanese audio tracks (matched with the AnimEigo's superb subtitles) not a horrible English dubbing as contained in Shogun Assassin.

All this combined, it is impossible for me to recommend this film over the originals to anyone. Granted, they both still contain ridiculous blood spurting and great swordplay and you'll still have a good time watching either Shogun Assassin or the original Lone Wolf and Cub movies but Shogun Assassin is just inferior. However, if (and only if) you really hate subtitles in your movies, then Shogun Assassin might be the way to go.
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Format: DVD
"Shogun Assassin" is a great film. Much "controversy" has arisen over the years regarding this film having been cobbled together from two other films in the Lone Wolf series. I think that what has been achieved is an extremely entertaining, fast-paced piece of action. By eliminating non-essential story lines and including a voice over narration, the action moves at break neck speed. The amount of blood spilled is so over the top as to be cartoonish, which only adds to the uniqueness of the movie. The DVD transfer is excellent and the restored picture is high quality. Some reviewers have complained about certain scenes being unrestored, it is actually only two shots totaling maybe five seconds in length. Both shots are of a castle and the excuse for not restoring them was that they were stock footage with no original element available. I do not know why the company had to place the disclaimer of this fact on the film, as I doubt anyone would have really noticed anyway. An added bonus on the DVD is the inclusion of the trailer which, I had never seen before. I can only imagine an audience seeing this trailer and somehow not wanting to see the film, it is awesome. Anyway, if you have never seen "Shogun Assassin" or have seen it a thousand times, buy this DVD, it is well worth it.
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Format: DVD
I am not usually a fan of dubbed versions of Japanese films. Most of the time, they are so poorly done I don't know why they even bother. But somehow, I find "Shogun Assassin" to be not only forgivable, but an awesome flick.

Maybe because this is more than just a dubbed version of the original film. The director, Robert Houston, spliced together the "good parts" of two films, Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance and Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx into a single story. He then hired deaf lip-readers to help him create an English-language script that was synchronized to the mouth movements, and Mark Lindsay from the band Paul Revere & the Raiders to lay out a funky synthesizer track for a score. It reminds me a bit of the animated series Robotech or even Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily? which both created new stories out of Japanese material.

Or maybe it is because "Shogun Assassin" is just so cool. The story is a simplified version of the original Lone Wolf and Cub series. You still have the wandering swordsman with his killer baby, but this time they are only fleeing from "The Shogun" instead of any complex story of clan rivalry.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
My introduction to these characters was via the outstanding Lone Wolf and Cub series. I have 5 Lone Wolf films in DVD (not Blu-ray). But I have to say, those DVDs have better resolution and color than the Shogun Assassin movies in this collection. That's my technical complaint.

As for movies, any potential buyer should be aware that these movies are intended for those who love cheesy dubbed Asian action movies. There is no Japanese audio track. There are no subtitles. Shogun Assassin was a recut/reinvention of two Lone Wolf and Cub movies, made for the American audiences. We're talking B movies way way way down in the Bs. If you like samurai movies, like the Samurai Trilogy, Yojimbo, Hari Kiri, 47 Ronin, Zatoichi movies, then this collection is NOT for you!

I regret buying this collection mainly because I didn't realize what I was getting. That was my mistake. However, I am surprised at the lower quality of the film footage. One would expect a Blu-ray mastering to have better results than older DVD transfers of essentially the same footage. I suppose the SA films are already 2 or more film generations from what might be available for LWAC, so maybe this is the best they could have done. At any rate, it's very disappointing to me.
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