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Kozure Okami: Kowokashi Udekashi Tsukamatsuru

Sword of Vengeance
Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance

Japan 1972
produced by
Shintaro Katsu, Hisaharu Matsubara for Katsu Productions, Toho
directed by Kenji Misumi
starring Tomisaburo Wakayama, Fumio Watanabe, Tomoko Mayama, Taketoshi Naito, Tokio Oki, Shigeru Tsuyuguchi, Tomoo Uchida, Reiko Kasahara, Akihiro Tomikawa, Yoshi Kato, Yoshiko Fujita, Kauji Sokiyamo, Teruo Matsuyama, Toshiya Wazaki, Michimaro Otabe, Koichi Sato, Saburo Date, Ryutaro Gomi
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) is the shogun's sole executioner ... especially when he beheads the wrong people at the wrong time. But additionally to that, there's also the Yagyu clan, the shogun's official assassins, who have laid their eyes on his position as executioner. So Retsudo Yagyu (Tokio Oki), shadow leader of the Yagyus, cooks up a plan to legally get rid of him ... first he has Ookami's wife Azami (Reiko Wasahara) killed & evidence planted that might prove Ookami guilty ... then police inspector Bizen Yagyu (Taketoshi Naito) is sent to arrest Ookami ... but Ookami, innopcent, doesn't go down without a fight, & he soon kills Bizen - which of course makes Ookami a criminal & gives the Yagyus all justification in the world to hunt him down ...

Ookami soon wanders the country, only his trusted sword & his 3-year-old son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa), whom he pushes around in a babycart, on his side, always ready to fight, & kill, Yagyu-assassins - who have yet to prove strong enough to kill him.

However, since on his travels through the country he does need money, he rents out his services as swordsman/hitman.

Soon he accepts the job of saving a feudal lord from the clutches of evil chamberlain Sugito (Fumio Watanabe), who has hired a gang of assassins to ambush their victim in a quiet spa ... & once Ookami arrives there he has to realize the gang of assassins, led by ruthless Kanbei & his second in command Monosuke, have already put up camp there & are terrorizing especially the tourists. Ookami is reluctant to give away his true identity too soon, & rather accepts the assassins humiliations, as they soon force him to publicly make love to a whore (Tomoko Mayama), to save her life & his own.

Only the whore realizes there's more to Ookami than meets the eye, especially by the fact that he can still perform even though his life is threatened, & she soon tries to become friends with him & Daigoro, while the other tourists dismiss both her - bwecause she's a whore - & him - because he has let himself be humiliated -, while they are incapable of improving their own situation ...

Soon the assassins, knowing their victim is about to hit town, prepare to kill the tourists, just to not be givn away, when Ookami pulls his small arsenal from Daigoro's babycart (where the assassins have never suspected weapons) & pretty much single handedly mows down (in the truest sense of the word) Kanbei, Monosuke & his gang ...

Having done his job, he leaves (most possibly to collect) with Daigoro, not waiting for the others, who have never accepted him in the first place, to thank him for saving their lives, & when the whore, the only one who has put his trust in him, tries to follow, he sends her away by almost threatening her life.

 

Based on an - in Japan - immensely popular comicbook, Sword of Vengeance (& the whole Lone Wolf and Cub-series that followed) features one of the more unlikely hroes of the samurai-genre: A (caring) father, both on the run & on a quest for vengeance, who invariably pushes his young son around in a baby cart, even into battle - which he wins most of the time by brutally & graphically dismembering his opponents.

Truth to be told, this film might not be a masterpiece of samurai cinema (nor is any of the whole film-series), as beneath the original surface it does lack subtlety, & somehow Ookami always comes out the shining hero, if a most unlikely one. But that said, the film moves at a considerable pace, features great bloody fights, & thus stays entertaining thgoughout.

The producer, Shintaro Katsu, by the way, is lead actor Tomisaburo Wakayama's elder brother, who has made a name for himself as an actor playing Zatoichi in the long-running series of movies from the 1960's & 1970's.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

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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
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
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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
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