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Kozure Okami: Oya no Kokora Ko no Kokoro

Baby Cart in Peril
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril / Sword of Vengeance 4

Japan 1972
produced by
Tomisaburo Wakayama, Hisaharu Matsubara for Katsu Productions, Toho
directed by Takeichi Saito
starring Tomisaburo Wakayama, Akihiro Tomikawa, Yoichi Hayashi, Michie Azuma, Asao Koike, Shin Kishida, Tatsuo Endo, Tokio Oki, Hiroshi Tanaka, Koji Sekiyama, Soo Yamamura, Gakuya Morita, Hiroshi Hasegawa, Riki Harada, Michima Otabe, Seishiro Hara, Yusaku Terajima
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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Itto Ookami (Tomisabura Wakayama), the expelled executor of the shogun condemned to perpetually wandering the countryside with his little son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) in his babycart, is hired to kill Oyuki (Michie Azuma), a master swordswoman whose fighting-technique involves flashing her tattooed breast to her adversary to startle him with her gruesome tattoos ...

But before Ookami can fight her, his son Daigoro goes missing, & is almost burnt alive in a rice-field, but calmly buries himself to avoid death.

A samurai watching that is fascinated by the boy, especially his stoney eyes that suggest he has seen hundreds of deaths, maybe even caused some - unlikely for a 3-year-old, but in this case true. Soon the samurai figures that the boy might be the son of legendary Itto Ookami, who is said to be wandering the countryside with his little boy ... & of course he is right.

The samurai turns out to be Gunbei (Yoichi Hayashi) of the Yagyu clan, the archenemies of Itto Ookami, who have killed his wife & caused him to be expelled by the shogun (see Sword of Vengeance, the first Babycart film). Gunbei was, years ago, competing with Ookami for the job of executioner, but was disgraced when he in a fight pointed his sword - by acident - at the shogun himself, & was ordered to commit suicide . But Yagyu clanleader Retsudo (Tatsuo Endo) faked his suicide but sent him away ... & since that day, Gunbei is wandering the country, his only motivation to once avenge himself on Ookami - a goal that at long last seems to be within reach ... but he has underestimated Ookami's fighting skills & is eventually defeated & humiliated. But Ookami refuses to kill Gunbei, as for him, he is already dead. So Gunbei goes on living a broken man.

Ookami now continues his quest for Oyuki, & gets the vital clue to her from noone else than her estranged father Gindayo (Soo Yamamura), head of the Goumine village, who sees her as an outcast & rather has her killed than his village attacked.

Ookami finds Oyuki at a lonely spa, & finds her not the wild woman hje has conme to expect her to be but a warrior of honour who is doing nothing against Oookami unless he attacks her first, even though she knows he has come to kill her. However, when Ookami sees her atacked by other fighters, she proves to be a master swordswoman ...

It all dates back to her time with the Owari clan & her master Kazuko Enki (Shin Kishida), master of the flaming sword, who had during a training session taken advantage of her & raped her. But as she resisted him, she had fallen from grace with the Owaris & since then is on the run.

Ookami is gentleman enough to let her exact her revenge against Kazuko Enki, who incidently comes by for a fight, & while he trusts his flaming sword & hypnotism to help him win the duel, he just is lost as soon as Oyuki flashes her breast (aren't we men easy to figure out).

It's only when Enki is dead that Ookami challenges Oyuki, & kills her in a fair fight. Then he burns her body in a ritual &, always the man of honour, brings her ashes to her hometown & her dad ... which is when the Owaris, brought up about Kazuko Enki's death, attack the village, & even slaughter Gindayo ...

It's only then that Ookami challenges Lord Owari (Tokio Oki) to a one-on-one duel to avoid the whole village to be destroyed. Of course, Ookami wins, but he has not made himself many friends among the Owaris.

At long last, Ookami finds himself surrounded by Retsudo Endo's large army, that includes gunmen & archers, & it takes all of his strength (& Daigoro's babycart that can be converted into a machine gun) to slaughter his way through all of them & defeat lord Retsudo.

'At the end, we see Ookami walk on, still pushing Daigoro's cart through the country, but definitely at the end of his strength ...

 

With topless female fighters, flaming swords, gangs of flute playing assassins & the like, the Babycart series has definitely taken a turn towards the anything-goes-comicbook style (& of course, the series is actually based on a comicbook ... oops, I'm supposed to call that a manga, aren't I) ... which is just as well actually, as the series' formula did show signs of wear from episode one (Sword of Vengeance) on, but the movies were invariably saved by original ideas & setpieces (be it excessive comicbook-style violence or the original use of babycatrts, ...). Some elements from older films are repeated here, especially the endfight of Ookami against an army, where the babycart is converted into a machingun, which did look much better (& fresher) in Babycart to Hades, but overall this film is still enjoyable swordsplay cinema, provided you don't take it seriously.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD