Lone Wolf And Cub: Baby Cart To Hades (1972)
Don't get ahead of yourself! Click HERE to go to the beginning of the Lone Wolf And Cub string!
Starring: Tomisaburo Wakayama (Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold; The Ninja)
Directed By: Kenji Misumi (Hanzo the Razor: Sword of Justice; Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance)
Overview: In the third episode of the Lone Wolf and Cub Series, our assassin not only saves the life of a woman by accepting the punishment she is to receive, but is hired to kill a governor with a small army at his disposal.
Acting: Well, alright. I'll go as far as to say that even when people are overzealous on purpose, I still don't like the whole 'weak Japanese woman' act, even if she was a murderess. On the other hand, we have the Madam of the whore-house as a very strong character and the actress portraying her was very moving indeed. Daigoro and Lone Wolf are still just as awesome as ever. I know a couple people who could learn what cool truly is from this Series.
Cinematography: More chunky body bits fly in this one, be they tongues or limbs, and there's more killing in this one than in any of the predecessors (combined). I didn't say better, just more. There is certainly something to be said for the smaller scale combat action, since focus and blood effects can be done better when it's one-on-one, but there's still some great fighting. I do however seem to recall a greater 'art content' in the last two films as well, and thought great, I hoped for more.
Script: There's a discussion that the Madam of the house shares with Lone Wolf as she tries to convince him to give their property, a new prostitute, back to them. What you expect to be a close quarters battle scene with eight or so guys becomes a diplomatic exchange that shifts the plot towards a whole new direction. A great example of why this film is great, we don't automatically fill the screen with blood at every opportunity. Being a Samurai is about honour, not slaying. We learn that here, and perfectly.
Plot: One more clue leads us towards the overall vengeance oath our hero swore those many moons ago. Much like the first episode, this takes its time before going into the primary 'hired to go after this guy' plot, and this is the first time that we have such a large scale defence of a single target. The core elements of this film's story however are a more personal, more intimate teaching of the "Way Of The Warrior", and helps solidify our character and the world he lives in.
Mood: Perhaps not as immersive as a plot deeply related to our Lone Wolf, and maybe the job he takes on is not as intricately choreographed for suspense and danger as with Baby Cart At The River Styx, but there is that uniqueness that this series will always have, given the age of our expert swordsman's child. There's an element of wordless teachings of importance to a mind so young that makes everything going on more important, because it's for someone's future.
Overall Rating: 82% (Ease On Down The Road)
Aftertaste: I'm waiting impatiently for the next three in the series. It's the kind where you know exactly how the last one is going to end... oh actually it could go a few ways... but we do know how the end will come, that's for sure, epic battles and all that good stuff. Samurai Films have a unique awesomeness to them that just cannot compare. Suh-weet.