The LONE WOLF AND CUB series chronicles the adventures of disgraced Shogun assassin Ogami Itto and his infant son Daigoro, who sell their services to people in need while traveling the countryside in search of revenge agai... more »nst the hit squad who killed Itto's wife. All six parts of the martial arts-based drama are included here. In the first film of the series, SWORD OF VENGEANCE, Ogami escapes with his son in a wooden baby cart after an assassination attempt on his family. The second film, BABY CART AT THE RIVER STYX, sees Ogami stalked by a deadly female ninja as he attempts to assassinate a spy from the Shogunate. The journey continues in BABY CART TO HADES, with Ogami coming to the aid of a prostitute who killed her pimp. But he has to undergo torture to win back her freedom. In the follow-up, BABY CART IN PERIL, Ogami must battle a female martial arts master and defend his son from an assassination attempt by an enemy clan. The fifth film in the saga, BABY CART IN THE LAND OF DEMONS, features a duel between Ogami and five warriors who hold not only his assassin's fee, but vital information he needs to hunt down his enemies. Then, in the sixth and final installment in the LONE WOLF series, titled WHITE HEAVEN IN HELL, Ogami faces his ultimate challenge when all remaining members of the enemy Retsudo clan band together for a face-off on a snowy battlefield.« less
"For pure, unadulterated, visceral entertainment, the "Lone Wolf and Cub" series can't be beat. The acting, directing, the screenplays, and the cinematography are all top notch. The action sequences have to be seen to be believed. Each and every film feature loads of "money shots". Fans of Tarantino will immediately see where he drew much of his inspiration for the "Kill Bill" series. I suspect that these movies were an influence on "Mighty Python and the Holy Grail" as well. Another little known fact is that the manga that this is based upon was also the inspiration for "Road to Perdition".
People with no experience with Japanese cinema will probably find these movies to be very bizarre the first time they see them. They depict a culture whose morals and values are quite different from Western standards. Its not uncommon in these movies for someone to kill, or commit suicide, for reasons not easily comprehended. Examples: in Volume 2, a cult of female ninjas brutally dismember and kill one of their allies, just to prove a point (that they're superior fighters). In volume 6, one thug after another joyfully sacrifice their lives in order to help a princess perfect her killing technique. In volume 3, following a brutal rape and murder, a Samurai attempts to help the criminals cover up their atrocity. His actions are depicted as honorable behavior.
The main character, Ogami Itto, can only be described as an anti-hero. An assassin by trade, he describes himself as evil, a demon, "one who walks along the crossroads of Hell". He will kill anyone for 500 pieces of gold, even women and children. The opening scene in the first film sets the tone of the series, when Ogami, the official executioner of the Shogun, brutally decapitates a toddler. Even so, he is portayed throughout the series as a very sympathetic, honorable character. You will find yourself rooting for him and his son.
I can't say enough good things about these movies. They are so satisfying on every level. You'll get a rush at the over-the-top scenes of violence. You may even begin to question your Westernized notions of morality. Be cautioned though: these movies are not for the squeamish. Volume 1 and 3, in particular, feature very disturbing depictions of rape and murder. Don't say I didn't warn you."
Y. Nomura | 05/08/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"It's too bad this set is not what it says it is. In other words, the movies are not "un-cut." Yes, the movie contents are not cut but each and every film in this set features the films where both sides of the frame are literally chopped off for no acceptable reason. The results are quite terrible considering the fact that many scenes obviously lack one of the duelists missing from the frame which totally disturbs the viewer and spoils the atmosphere. If you're willing to truely enjoy the movies to their maximum entertainment potentials, I would recommend buying the Japanese issued versions that should have the films in their original ratios though they cost tons more and come in different region codes."
The Ultimate Samurai Action Series
Jimmy Hanzo | Jupiter | 11/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a huge fan of martial arts films in general, samurais in particular. Part of the problem, for me, in finding samurai films I'd like is the tendency of Japanese filmamkers to include odd humor and action scenes that are too unbelievable. Now, I like unrealistic action fights, I can watch Drunken Master 2 or Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon all day, but sometimes you can take fantasy too far--in the anime version of Samurai Showdown, Haohmaru the samurai defeats a swarm of bees with his sword by chopping them up. A bit too much.
The reason I bring this up is to let anyone who has the same taste as I do in martial arts films (fantasy fighting with some gravity to it) know that they'll enjoy these movies as much as anything they've seen.
First off, the story is just great in each film. You really can't predict the actions and decisions that lead hero, Ogami Itto, will make. He's the perfect samurai character, grim, silent, and ruthlessly efficient. I was a bit leary about Tomisaburo Wakaya, as he's not the vision of the ultimate samurai, but his fine acting and martial arts chops make you forget about his double chin. Upon first seeing him, I wished they had cast an actor who looked mroe like the comicbook Ogami Itto--twenty minutes into a film, I forgot all about the comics.
The action is just incredibly well done. It's not the beautiful, agile swordplay of the Chinese sword films, but it has an elegance to it. Whereas the Chinese like to draw out a fight and have both warriors display every move in their arsenal, the Japanese directors tend to focus on a single, perfect stroke. The fights are fast and furious, with limbs and fountains of blood. For those seeking to avoid blood and guts, you might want to rethink getting this. Just think of the final action scene in the phenomenal Kill Bill Vol. 1, where the bride decimates the Crazy 88. Now imagine that scene with someone who actually knows martial arts, and you'll get the idea.
Anyway, let me just say that these six flicks are MY Star Wars. The ultimate samurai saga, bar none. If only Kenji Masume and Kazuo Koike would ahve made a Musashi film.
"500 gold pieces can buy his sword, but nothing can buy his
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 10/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Lone Wolf and Cub" is the pinnacle of Asian grindhouse cinema and the most action-packed and downright cool series of samurai films ever made. The violence is brutal, the sex (both forced and consensual) is plentiful, the characters are memorable, and there is a lot of subtle humor and beautiful Japanese culture to be enjoyed as well. I cannot recommend these six films enough.
Beginning as the Shogun's personal executioner, our anti-hero Ogami Itto is framed by the jealous and ambitious Yagyu clan's shadow ops; his wife murdered in the process. In his rage, Itto takes his young son, Daigoro, and declares them to be demons, apart from the world of men to live as assassins for hire. His primary target: the head of the Shadow Yagyus, a decrepit old warrior known as Retsudo. Along the way he encounters hidden ninja and other Yagyu warriors, deadly kunoichi, clan heads in need of his services, friendly villagers, prostitutes, yakuza, Retsudo's skilled offspring, and many more, most of whom will either be diced up by his sword, or by his enemies'. Thankfully, Lone Wolf and Cub are more than ready for whatever comes their way. Ogami Itto pushes his son around in a modified baby cart that is packed full of hidden surprises for anyone who wishes to take his head. And nobody is his equal with a sword. Nobody. Amusingly, Daigoro manages to rack up a little body count of his own and embarks on his own little adventures from time to time too.
The first film "Sword of Vengeance" focuses on Ogami Itto's first clashes with the Shadow Yagyu clan; playing a bloody game of chess as the disgraced samurai embarks upon his demon's journey by outwitting Retsudo and escaping to the open road. "Baby Cart at the River Styx" is my favorite film of the series and features a deadly band of lady shinobi (kunoichi), and a mission which pits Lone Wolf and Cub against a trio of skilled and honorable warriors with brutal weapons who have been hired to protect his target. "Baby Cart to Hades" (best title ever!) has Itto sacrificing his own body to protect a lowly prostitute in need and features one of the greatest action sequences ever filmed as our (anti)hero single-handedly battles an entire force of Yagyu troopers and kills ever last one. Awesome. "Baby Cart in Peril" features a heroic female samurai with tattoos who fights topless (for distraction, see?). In order to retrieve the information vital to his mission in "Baby Cart in the Land of Demons" Lone Wolf and Cub must past the deadly tests put forth by five of the clans retainers who can appear anywhere at any time. Lastly "White Heaven in Hell" pits Ogami Itto and son against a Yagyu clan desperate to finally avenge their shame by ending their lives. Lord Retsudo orders every person who helps or even speaks to them to be put to death. As Itto flees civilization into the frozen mountains, Retsudo sends his supernaturally-powered ninja to stalk him while the remainder of the clan's army is brought up for the end game. All of these films are must-sees for martial-arts and action fans.
The bonus features include many trailers, particularly for Zatoichi films (Shintaro Katsu -who played the legendary blind swordsman- produced the first three films and cast this brother, Tomisaburo Wakayama, as Ogami Itto). Each disc also features extensive and informative notes about Japanese history and culture to help put some of the events in the films in perspective. Good stuff.
If you're looking for unrelenting action, brutal gore, a protagonist who is an unstoppable bada$#, and a story that has coolness around every corner then this is a series you must look into. It's a great place to start if you're looking to get into samurai films and this set belongs in the DVD library of all professing to be fans of the genre. Buy these films and enter the Crossroads to Hell.
Lone wolf and cub... simply great.
R. Burns | Alexandria, La | 08/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought these movies individually about two years ago, after accidently stumbling upon the fourth movie of the series. Afterwards I immediately went and bought the other five and watched them in sequence. They are really great movies, especially if you like this genre of movies. Even if you don't, if you don't mind the huge amounts of violence, they are great movies. As the other reviewers have mentioned, the main stars of the series are Ogami Itto and his son Daigoro. The classic anti-hero who will sometimes do bad things (in western eyes) in a noble fashion. The incredible bond between father and son, of which throughout the entire series is almost completely unspoken. I have to say that I like Daigoro the most, he's just one tough kid! (I named my dog Daigoro) One thing that I can mention that I noticed hasn't been mention yet, is that each dvd had extensive liner notes, and if you take the time to read will give you a much better understanding of the period and certain scenes in the movies i.e. the significance of a big radish etc... The only thing else I can say is that there is no 'kung-fu' in these movies... perhaps the other reviewers meant it is the type of movie you would see on 'kung-fu theatre'..."