Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and ... See full summary »
Hanzo is an incorruptible and unorthodox officer in Edo, as famous for his self-discipline and his love shaft as his sword. Against the backdrop of his magistrate's occasional rounding up ... See full summary »
Kanichiro Yoshimura is a Samurai and Family man who can no longer support his wife and children on the the low pay he receives from his small town clan, he is forced by the love for his ... See full summary »
The Japanese ambassador is traveling through the Wild West by train, when gangsters hold up the train, to rob a gold shipment. They also carry an ancient Japanese sword the ambassador was ... See full summary »
A humble and simple Takezo abandons his life as a knight errant. He's sought as a teacher and vassal by Shogun, Japan's most powerful clan leader. He's also challenged to fight by the ... See full summary »
Gennosuke, a clan retainer, kills one of the clan ministers as part of a plot to achieve reform. He is pursued by his former comrades, each hoping to complete the vendetta put on Gennosuke ... See full summary »
The final film, and the final confrontation between Ogami and Retsudo. With most of his family already dead at Ogami's hands, Retsudo launches one last plot to destroy him, and when that fails, unleashes the fury of every remaining member of the Yagyu Clan. Written by
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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