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Kozure Okami: Sono Chisaki te ni

Lone Wolf and Cub: Final Conflict

Japan 1993
produced by
Kazuo Koike Company, Eizo Kyoto Company/Shochiku
directed by Akira Inoue
starring Masakazu Tamura, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yushi Shoda, Isao Hashizume, Kimiko Ikegami, Renji Ishibashi, Shima Iwashita, Yuko Kotegawa, Toru Masuoka, Kunie Tanaka, Mayumi Wakamura
written by Kazuo Koike, based on the manga by Kazuo Koike, Goseki Kojima, music by Masahiro Kawasaki

Lone Wolf and Cub/Baby Cart-series

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Itto Ogami (Masakazu Tamura) is the chief executioner of the shogun - something Bizen, head of the Yagyu clan, is mad jealous about, so he orders Retsudo (Tatsuya Nakadai) to frame Ogami ... and with the help of his daughter Nanao, Retsudo has soon planted evidence at Ogami's home that he actually plans a revolt against the shogun. But when the Yagyus come to arrest him too, they accidently kill his wife, which throws Ogami into a fighting frenzy, killing most of the Yagyus at hand. Only Nanao, who was instrumental in framing Ogami in the first place, now splits from the rest of her family, to see to it that Ogami's son Daigoro (Yushi Shoda) comes to no harm.

With his wife dead and his position gone, Ogami knows only one goal in life, to have his revenge on the Yagyus, especially their shadow branch and Retsudo, and in a series of clashes, he eliminates more and more of the Yagyus. Thing is, the longer this goes on, the more Retsudo's respect for Ogami as a warrior grows, and he would just like to have a fair and square duel ... but Bizen Yagyu is just powerhungry, and since he doesn't see Retsudo as a warrior as such, he would prefer to have Ogami eliminated.

Finally, Retsudo and Ogami clash for the first time, but Retsudo's daughter Nanao, who just wants peace between the two clans, interferes and is accidently slaughtered by her own father.

Finally, Ogami and Retsudo meet once again, and this time they fight it to the death - and Retsudo manages to kill Ogami, if only just. Ogami's son Daigoro has seen everything, picks up a sword and tries to kill Retsudo, even though he's still a toddler. Retsudo has no problem disarming the boy, but he is so overcome by admiration for both Ogami and his son that he kills himself on the spot.

Bizen Yagyu learns about the death of Ogami, but since Ogami has also wiped out the entire shadow branch of the Yagyu clan, Bizen now has no one to fall back on anymore and his own demise is only a matter of time.

 

The entire Lone Wolf and Cub story told in one film, which needless to say differs quite a bit from the film- and TV-series from the 1970's, and I'm not just talking about the ommission of the babycart here. basically, the film is as much an action spectacle as it is an elegy, that provides well-staged fight scenes as well as atmospheric shots aplenty, and that repeatedly contrasts its furious action scenes with slow and sad music, to quite some effect. But while director Akira Inoue manages to blend the contradictory aspects of the movie quite nicely, the film as a whole is still far from perfect. The main problem witht he movie is that it lacks a proper storyline as such, the whole thing seems to be little more than just a series of fights, everything that happens inbetween them is interchangeable and neglectable. And with Ogami being stationary rather than wandering the countryside like in the earlier films and TV-show, the film also lacks a certain drive that served the earlier versions of the story well. Plus, Daigoro, a central character in all earlier versions, is completely margianalized in this one - a pity inasmuch as he made the whole thing special. Add to this the fact that lead Masakazu Tamura lacks the much-needed charisma to fill his role, and you've got ... well, actually still a decent samurai movie, but one that certainly does not live up to its possibilities and its expectations.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
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
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

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