When the wife of the Shogun's Decapitator is murdered and he is ordered to commit suicide by the paranoid Shogun, he and his four-year-old son escape and become assassins for hire, embarking on a journey of blood and violent death.
These movies were infamous for their incredibly brutal and bloody swordplay sequences, but equally impressive IMHO was the leading actor- Tomisaburo Wakayama a.k.a. "Lone Wolf" was surely the greatest martial arts star ever. The command and authority with which he wielded a sword (and other weapons) was just phenomenal. The blade truly was an extension of himself, and his use of it was the definition of lethal, with none of the unnecessary/show-off flourishes so desperately thrown about by today's wannabes. He had incredible presence and charisma- easily on a par with the likes of say Eastwood or Bronson- with eyes that reflected pure death, and the desolation in his soul. There were moments in the "Babycart" series where you'd swear he was the personification of his namesake, the Wolf. You never doubted for one second that he WAS shogun executioner, masterless samurai, assassin for hire. One look at him in action, and you could readily understand why his enemies trembled at the mention of his name, and ran from him in sheer terror. Alas, Lone Wolf is one with void now, but his legend will live on forever in these films.
Forget Toshiro Mifune. Forget Takakura Ken. Forget Sonny Chiba. Forget Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, and any of those wire-reliant ballet dancers from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. And CERTAINLY forget any American martial artists that you could care to name. Tomisaburo Wakayama was, is, and forever shall be, THE MAN!
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