Restore Order....Kill Everyone!
Archmaker | California | 04/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the 5th Entry in the Series of Lone Wolf & Cub, and this one starts off with 5 emmissaries testing our hero, former Shogun Executioner, Ogami Itto. Of course 5 emmissaries testing Ogami, means 5 duels, 5 sliced up and dead emmissaries, 500 pieces of gold and the 5 bits of information Itto needs to do the job.These 5 gave up their lives for their Clan which is in peril because the Lord of the Clan favors his concubine and is passing off her DAUGHTER as his son. A major no-no. Especially since he HAS a living son. This information has been written down and given by the Lord to a trusted holy man, the Abbott Jikei, who turns out to be a spy in cahoots with the Yagyu Clan, Ogami's sworn enemies.So Ogami sets out to restore order to the Clan by: killing the Abbott & stealing the document (nice bit that!), and later killing half the clan to get to the Lord and doing him, his concubine and the child. Of course, Ogami manages all this with his trademark ferocity & remorseless implacability. Our filmakers do not neglect the arterial blood sprays and lopped extremities here and there, and other traits of swordfighting messiness we've come to expect.There is a sidestory about a pickpocket "Quick Change Oyoo" that serves no purpose other than to have Ogami's little son, Daigoro, take a flogging with the same stoicism of his old man.Anyway, plenty of stylish photography, lots of spurting blood, and an authentic look as to period detail, and a grim look at the rigorous code of conduct in that period. The Liner Notes and Subtitles help a lot. Man, these people believed in their Clans!"
Best of the Series
General Zombie | the West | 12/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think all the Lone Wolf & Cub movies are great, but this is definitely the best one in my book. All the films in the series managed to combine a strong period feel, and a sort of delicate and solemn beauty with the outrageous and brilliant action scenes, but this one really manages to bring out the former without losing touch with the latter. To put it bluntly, this is one of the very best action movies I've ever seen, Asian or otherwise.
I won't bother going into the plot. It doesn't matter much. Suffice to say, Ogami has been given another contract, and he must kill a great many people along the way in order to make his final hit. (as usual) All of the LW&C movies had westerny feel to them, but this one is totally a Leone film set in feudal Japan. The cinematography in the series has always been good, but 'Babycart in the Land of Demons' easily tops any of the other entries. They make full use of the widescreen format, almost never shooting anything in a perfunctory fashion, with lots of beautiful long shots, varied angles and unusual framing. This makes the whole film have a sort of poetic grandiosity which I really like. The natural scenery isn't quite as striking as in some of the other films, but it's still quite nice, and the extra effort that was put into filming it more than makes up for this slight shortcoming. The earlier portion of the film contains a great many one-on-one duels, further enhancing the Leone-esque feel, and they are all quite nicely done, if brief. (as you'd expect) The fight choreography is more consitently excellent than in most of the other films, though it isn't quite as action oriented as some of the other entries. This isn't to say it has the very best action scenes, but they are all good. The big fight at the end, while certainly not as huge as some of the others in the series, is quite excellent, and is a very fitting climax to the film. The grue is quite entertaining still, but not found in quite as great of volume as it was in some of the other films. However, I actually think this is a good thing, as the gore, while amusing in and of itself, can detract from the mood of the film sometimes.
Ogami and Daigoro are as compelling and likable as ever. Ogami Itto is an action hero equal to any you'll find in the genre. The taciturn, incredibly skilled and violent yet honorable man with no past is a typical action hero, but Wakayama Tomisaburo plays him as well as you could hope. Though I generally dislike children in movie's, I can't help but love little Daigoro. He's a very cute kid, for sure, but he's also a real character. Sure, he's not a remotely believable character, but I'm more than willing to suspend my disbelief. The acting is generally quite capable. The guy who plays Lord Retsudo is much better than he was in the first film, which was the only real problem in the whole series. Still, his look is a bit distracting, as his eye-patch, powdered face and wild hair make him look rather like a Japanese zombie-pirate. Of course, that's not really much of a problem. Thematically, self-sacrifice is an extremely prominent concept, and it can be quite affecting at times. (Particularly the brief subplot involving Daigoro and a pickpocket)
In his B-Movie guide, Joe Bob Briggs says, of the LW&C series, something like, 'famed for it's geysers of blood, but also beautiful and moving' That sums it all up pretty well, I think, and is particularly applicable to 'Baby Cart in the Land of Demons'. Mandatory viewing for any action fan.(The whole series is, really, though it doesn't make much difference what order you go in, provided you know the basic setup)"
The best of babycart
jim blakely | chicago' IL | 08/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this the best in the series and I haven't even seen the third title yet. The shear conflict posed by the clan in it's attempt to right the wrong of it's former leader before his actions are dicovered isalmost un believeable. this is the true meaning of the code of bushido. Ogamii embraces their plight as if he were a member of the clan. Going as far as to face the old lord and chastise him for his selfish and selfdestructive actions. the cinematography is excellent and choreography if top notch, using many different sword styles and weapons. And as always little Daigoro give us all alesson in being a true samurai at the ripe old age of 3 . Many seem to think that Ogamii is seeking revenge as he travels around japan. But they are mistaken. I think he is biding time til his son can come of age and then together they will takeRetsudo's other eye and his head as well. this is a classic and should be regarded as so by any true nipponaphile would agree."
Lone Wolf and Cub part 5
morgoth | omaha, NE | 06/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK first of all, this movie is so cool! The last 10 or so movies I watched before this were all average at best, so I figured this movie would continue the trend and fail to entertain. Luckily I was wrong. I was into the story from beginning to end. And it's a very unique story. Ogami Itto stumbles upon another job that involves the Yagyu. He is attacked right at the start of the movie, and he defeats the man easily, of course. But then the man says that he is looking to hire Ogami Itto for an assassination job, and there are 4 other men like him who will test Ogami's skills, and then give him more information about the job if Ogami can defeat them. And if that isn't already cool enough, they all give the information with their last breaths. And there's more to the story than that. It's pretty amazing how much stuff they cram into a 90 minute movie, and yet it's never confusing, and you never feel like you are not getting enough information.
As expected, the action is awesome. Ogami kills people in new ways. It's just such a great movie.
Like the other Animego Lone Wolf and Cub movies, the picture is beautiful, sound is good, and the subtitles are some of the best you will find. And the liner notes give important information and are fun to read."