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Shogun Assassin (1980)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,889 users  
Reviews: 86 user | 59 critic

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.

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Title: Shogun Assassin (1980)

Shogun Assassin (1980) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tomisaburô Wakayama ...
Kayo Matsuo ...
Minoru Ôki ...
Master of Death (as Minoru Ohki)
Shôgen Nitta ...
Shin Kishida ...
Akihiro Tomikawa ...
Daigoro (as Masahiro Tomikawa)
Lamont Johnson ...
Voice (voice)
...
Voice (voice)
...
Voice (voice)
Vic Davis ...
Voice (voice)
Lennie Weinrib ...
Voice (voice)
Lainie Cooke ...
Voice (voice) (as Lainie Cook)
...
Voice (voice)
Mark Lindsay ...
Voice (voice)
...
Voice (voice)
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Storyline

Long ago there was a great samurai warrior who served his Shogun honorably. The Shogun however grew paranoid as he became more and more senile. The Shogun sought to destroy all those who might stand to oppose his rule, and so he sent his ninja spies to the samurai's home. The ninjas failed to kill the samurai, but did kill his beloved wife. From then on, the samurai swore on his honor to seek out the Shogun and avenge the death of his love. The samurai roams the countryside with his toddler son taking on mercenary work for money until the final battle with the Shogun's three Masters of Death. Written by William Pagan <ny952696@pacevm.dac.pace.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

it's impossible to keep a body count! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

11 November 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A sógun orgyilkosa  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mark Lindsay (former lead singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders) co-wrote the music with W. Michael Lewis. The performing credit is listed as "The Wonderland Philharmonic." "Wonderland" refers to the house that Lindsay lived in at one time. However, music cues from the original "Kozure Ôkami" films are also used. See more »

Quotes

Ogami Itto: They will pay... with rivers of blood!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A difficult film to review
15 July 2005 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Released today, film fans across the world would be throwing copies of Shogun Assassin onto bonfires because technically, it is 100x worse than the type of 'rip offs' that people keep accusing Tarantino of lately. Essentially, Shogun is the first fifteen minutes or so of Sword of Vengeance followed by the majority of Babycart at the River Styx copy and pasted into an 80 minute film, with the addition of bad dubbing and some seriously cool music. But, as it stands, Shogun Assassin was 'made' in 1980 and did the full trip around grind house theatres so it has gained a cult following. So today it is looked back on as classic hack and slash cinema, as Kill Bill will probably be in twenty years time as much as some purists hate to admit it.

Speaking from my current state of mind I would say screw Shogun Assassin and go for the six Lone Wolf and Cub films. Even as a cure for film geeks lust for blood and guts, Shogun Assassin seems kind of strange. I never really understood why Houston didn't c & p some of the much more epic scenes of carnage from Babycart to Hades or Babycart in Peril. Still, the fight with the Hidari brothers (or 'Masters of Death' as they are known in Shogun) is one of the coolest in all six films. John Carpenter later used the brothers as prototypes for his '3 Storms' in Big Trouble in Little China, but if he was 'homaging' River Styx or Shogun Assassin we will probably never know.

Ultimately, Shogun Assassin works in the same way as Kill Bill, as a gateway to grind house cinema for the masses. How many people realise, respect and take advantage of this is where the problems start. Regarding Kill Bill, thousands of people see the films and see them as original without realising their true purpose. But it is difficult to argue that both films are not taking advantage of underseen cinema.

Alas, three paragraphs and I haven't actually said if the film is any good. The truth is, I will probably never watch it again because there isn't much point if you are into the LW & C films. But I won't have been introduced to 70s Japanese samurai 'grind house' cinema, which I regard as the best action genre there is, if it wasn't for Shogun. So I can't say it is rubbish, and to be fair, if you haven't seen LW & C it is far from crap, showcasing some of the coolest fight scenes ever filmed along with some seriously awesome music (which is the main reason I still have love for Shogun). Of course, the dubbing completely ruins Wakayama's performance and the Yagyu female ninja leader is turned into a useless loose end.

But Shogun's existence is important and a godsend is stopping 70s Jap samurai cinema from falling into nothingness in the west. If you don't know samurai cinema, watch Shogun once and you will turn into a nerd like me and become instantly obsessed with Japanese cinema. I would never know and love a lot of the films I do now if it wasn't for Shogun, and for that I hold it in the highest regard. Well, sort of.


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Why would people watch this instead of the first two Lone Wolf films? Fear_Of_Falling
Kill Bill reference pisses me off. dstalker34
This movie is crap. drgonzo212
Liquid Swords JPC_whutwhut
Movies like this. 777ismyname
Shogun Assassin NOT so related to Kill Bill flamingyouth76
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