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Kozure Okami: Sanzo no Kawa no Ubaguruma

Baby Cart at the River Styx
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx / Sword of Vengeance 2

Japan 1972
produced by
Shintaro Katsu, Hisaharu Matsubara for Katsu Productions, Toho
directed by Kenji Misumi
starring Tomisaburo Wakayama, Akihiro Tomikawa, Kayo Matsuo, Izumi Ayukawa, Akiji Kobayashi, Minoru Ohki, Shin Kishida, Shogen Nitta, Kanji Ehata, Katsuhei Matsumoto, Maki Mitsuhara, Ima Masaki, Reiko Kasahara, Yuriko Nishima, Yukari Wakayama, Takuya Kitano
based on the manga by Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima, music by Hideaki Sakurai

Lone Wolf and Cub/Baby Cart-series

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Still both on the run from the Yagyu-assassins & on a quest for vengeance on the Yagyu clan (why ? See Sword of Vengeance), Itto Ookami (Tomisaburo Wakayama) is on the way to Akashi with his small son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa). There he has been hired by the Awa-textile dyers (which was back then big business) to kill a spy for  who is supposed to deliver the secret of the Awa-indigo to the shogunate, & is guarded by the 3 Hidari brothers (Akiji Kobayashi, Minoru Ohki, Shin Kishida), extremely fierce fighters.

But on the road to Akashi he is already expected by Ozunu (Izumi Ayukawa) & his assassins as well as the Akashi Yagyu clanswomen led by Sayaka (Kayo Matsuo), of course, despite most of the assassins are valiant fighters, Ookami has little problems slaughtering them, until only Sayaka, Ozunu & 3 of Ozunu's men are left alive. So Ozunu decides the only way to get Ookami is through Daigoro ... & since Ookami was wopunded during his fight for life, kidnapping Daigoro is not too difficult a task.

But when Ozunu has Daigoro hanging over a deep well & tries to force Ookami to give himself up, he is in for an unpleasant surprise ... Ookami calims to not care about his son, almost persuades them to drop him, then though slaughters Ozunu & his men in record time & can catch the rope his son is hanging on before Daigoro's body hits the ground. Sayaka, the last of the gang left alive, looks on in disbelief but allows Ookami to save his son, as she did feel uneasy from the start to get to the man through his child ...

Later, Ookami & son board the ship to Akashi, the very same ship the Hidari brothers & Sayaka are on. But the Awa-clan seems to have hired a few additional assassins who set the ship on fire to get rid of the Hidaris, so soon everyone involved has to take an involuntary bath in the cold water in order to save him-/herself from being burnt alive ... & after that little bath, Ookami actually saves Sayaka from freezing to death ...

The desert: The Hidaris, accompanied by a small batallion of soldiers, accompany the shogun's spy to Edo, when Ookami stops them & has little troubles in killing them, cutting them up, dismembering the Hidaris, ony one of the soldiers who still dares to fight him, & of course the spy ...

Ookami's journey goes on, as he pushes Daigoro's cart through the country, but when Sayaka tries to join him, out of gratitude, he pulls his sword, making it quite clear that he needs no company of a Yagyu-woman ...


Graphic depiction does not necessarily make a movie any better (more often than not quite the contrary is the case), but this one, for some reason, is immensely enjoyable because of its many scenes of over-the-top, comic-book-style scenes of dismemberment & mutilation, which are in many instances so out-of-this-world they cannot be taken wholly seriously but rather as a form of twisted performing arts (best example when the Yagyu-clanswomen take apart - literally apart - one of Ozunu's men, just for demonstration purposes).

A considerable pace & straight-forward storytelling also help make this film the best of the Lone Wolf and Cub-series.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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