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Kozure Okami: Meifumando

Baby Cart in the Land of Demons
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons / Sword of Vengeance 5 / Crossroads to Hell

Japan 1973
produced by
Tomisaburo Wakayama, Masanori Sanada for Katsu Productions, Toho
directed by Kenji Misumi
starring Tomisaburo Wakayama, Akihiro Tomikawa, Michiyo Yasuda (= Michiyo Ookusu), Shingo Yamashiro, Tomomi Sato, Satoshi Amatsu (= Bin Amatsu), Minoru Ohki, Akira Yamauchi, Hideji Otaki, Taketoshi Naito, Fujio Suga, Rokko Toura, Eiji Okada, Taizen Shishido, Koji Fujiyama, Sumida Kazuyo, Yoshi Kato, Michima Otabe, Koichi Sato, Masaru Shiga
screenplay by Kazuo Koike, Tsutomu Nakamura, 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 (Tomisaburo Wakayama), the ex-executioner on the run, perpetually pushing his son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) around the countryside in his baby cart, hiring out his services as a killer, gets his new assignement in the most unusual of ways: 5 members of the Kuroda clan (Akira Yamauchi, Hideji Otaki, Taketoshi Naito, Fujio Suga, Rokko Toura) all challenge him to individual duels to test his skills, & only when he manages to defeat (& kill) them, each of them gives him one fiftho of his pay & one fifth of the assignement ... & it is to kill the priest Zikei who knows the Kuroda clan's terrible secret, that their (5-year old) lord is really a girl, & he has a document to prove it ... & furthermore he is protected by the Yagyus, Ookami's arch-enemies, led by lord Retsudo (Minoru Ohki), Ookami's arch-arch-enemy.

But before Ookami can deal with the official, his 3-year old son is getting involved with pickpocket Oyoo (Tomomi Sato), who has made him promise not to give her away, & he, the little boy, doesn't, even if he is tortured publicly by a police official ... which touches Oyoo in a way that she gives herself up & becomes a better person.

Then Ookami is attacked by lady Shiranui (Michiyo Yasuda) of the Kuroda clan ... but why, he's already working for them ? ... well, she not only wants to have the document stolen from Zikei to have the clan's honour preserved, but she also wants the entire elite (inluding their girl-lord) of the clan slain, only so that nobody will ever learn of the clan's secret ...

First up, Ookami has to take out Zikei, which is not quite as easy as it seems as he floats on a raft in the middle of a river, heavily guarded by yagyu soldiers. But of course, Ookami soon devices the plan of attacking from below, meaning he dives under the raft, cuts it open & drags the priest into the water before anyone knows what is happening. & under water, the Yagyu guards too seem to be easy to defeat. & to prevent Retsudo from stealing the document back he replaces it in its case with another (meaningless scroll). Then Lady Shiranui washes all the scripture from the document & tells Ookami to deliver it to the Kurodas.

The Kurodas are more than a little startled when Ookami brings them an empty document, but not half as startled as they are when he sarts slaughtering them by the dozen ... Until they are all dead & the secret is well kept.

Leaving the Kurodas' place, pushing Daigoro's cart, Ookami witnesses Lady Shiranui committing seppuku (suicide), just to ensure that the clan's secret is really well kept ...

 

Not that realism was ever high on the agenda of the Baby Cart movies, but Baby Cart in the Land of Demons really pushes credibility way beyond its limits, not only with its enjoyably excessive comicbook violence but also its story of characters hiring Ookami invariably after he has slain them, & the great number of people relishing in dieing just to keep a little secret. But all these leaps in credibility actually make Baby Cart in the Land of Demons an entertaining piece of samurai cinema, & a relatively fresh flick, considering its already the fifth part of a series or films released during a short 2 year period.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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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