When the wife of the Shogun's Decapitator is murdered and he is ordered to commit suicide by the paranoid Shogun, he and his four-year-old son escape and become assassins for hire, embarking on a journey of blood and violent death.
In this first film of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, adapted from the manga by Kazuo Koike, we are told the story of the Lone Wolf and Cub's origin. Ogami Itto, the official Shogunate executioner, has been framed for disloyalty to the Shogunate by the Yagyu clan, against whom he now is waging a one-man war, along with his infant son, Daigoro.Written by
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #841. See more »
Inspector Yagyu Bizen-no-Kami:
Men, take Ogami Itto!
This is too odd! Inspector Bizen... What is the meaning of these uniformed men? Was it your intent to take me away from the beginning?
Inspector Yagyu Bizen-no-Kami:
Naturally, in such an emergency as this!
If that were so, they would have come here openly. Besides, there shouldn't have been any reason to hide your uniforms.
[Grabs a guard]
Furthermore, how do you explain the armor? If you were in such a rush to come here, why did you take the time to don this?
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The 1999 UK video was cut by 6 secs by the BBFC to edit a scene where a woman is stripped topless, and the Artsmagic DVD featured the same print. The 2009 Eureka release (featured in the "Lone Wolf & Cub Collection") is fully uncut. See more »
The beginning of one of the most entertaining Japanese movie-series.
The foremost reason why this is a standout movie-series is because of it's unusual and highly original main concept. There are plenty of Japanese movies about a shogun, ronin or a samurai fulfilling their destinies and travel through the country, getting into all kind of adventures and troubles. The Kozure Ôkami-series has an original take on this type of movies by letting the main character carry and drive around his infant son in an armed and dangerous baby cart. His infant son even helps him in battle sometime. No big surprise that this all is being based on a manga-series, by Kazuo Koike, who also contributed to this movie its script.
It also becomes obvious that this movie is being based on a manga when you look at its violence. It's really deliberately being over-the-top and the entire series is well known for featuring fountains of blood, whenever someone gets struck down or gets a limb or head cut off. It's a pretty bloody movie but because it all gets down in such an over-the-top way, it's nothing too shocking to watch, even when you don't have the stomach for it.
It are really its action sequences that stand out and there is plenty of action in this one. All of the fights got nicely choreographed and brought to the screen and above all things they also often have something original to offer. Often Itto uses some tricks to fool his opponents and can strike down the best trained and most powerful shogun with one strike because of some clever and unexpected moves and tricks, sometimes helped by his infant son Daigorô.
The movie is good looking, thanks to its fine directing, that provides the movie with some nicely done sequences but also due to its great looking environments. The movie often uses nature elements and environments as a key part of the movie its climatic battles, such as water or the sun.
All in all, a great start of the series!
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