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Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973)

Kozure Ôkami: Meifumadô (original title)
Unrated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 11 August 1973 (Japan)
Five warriors challenge Ogami to duels. Each holds a part of information needed to complete the assassination of a mad clan leader.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Michiyo Ohkusu ...
Shiranui (as Michiyo Yasuda)
Akihiro Tomikawa ...
Ogami Daigoro
Shingo Yamashiro ...
Sazare Kanbei
Tomomi Satô ...
Quick Change Oyô
Akira Yamauchi ...
Shinnoji Senzo
Hideji Ôtaki ...
Abbot Jikei
Taketoshi Naitô ...
Mawatari Hachiro
Fujio Suga ...
Tsukude Sozaemon
Rokkô Toura ...
Ayabe Ukon
Yoshi Katô ...
Kuroda Naritaka
Teruo Ishiyama ...
Mogami Shusuke (as Ritsu Ishiyama)
Hiroshi Tanaka ...
Murao Koyata
Michima Otabe
Kôji Fujiyama ...
Tsutsumi Rokurojiro
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Storyline

Fifth film in the Lone Wolf & Cub Series. 5 warriors challenge Ogami to duels. Each has 1/5th of Ogami's assassin fee and 1/5 of the information he needs to complete his assassination. His mission is to kill a mad Daimyo before he destroys his clan! Written by barabbas <barabbas@dsp.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Once he agrees to kill, nothing can stand in his way.


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

11 August 1973 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Baby Cart at the River Styx  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Connections

Follows Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

"We're at the crossroads to Hell"
28 March 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Master film-maker Kenji Misumi returns in the Lone Wolf and Cub series to helm the fifth entry, Baby Cart in the Land of the Demons, and if you thought even just for a fleeting second that this would be anything but orgasmically violent and existentially mystifying, you just don't have enough confidence on the man.

Picking up the story of the Shogun's former executioner Ogami Itto and his son Daigoro, this is another tale of betrayal, political intrigue and murder. The Kuroda Clan is in deep trouble, trouble that Ogami Itto's fierce opponents, the Yagyu, want to exploit for their own benefit. Ogami Itto is paid his usual fee (500 gold pieces of course) and bloodshed ensues.

Now as a chambara and LWAC fundamendalist, I will confess upfront that the combination of stylized comic-book violence and the existential, quasi-mythic look at both historical Japan and the genre conventions that form chambara, are a sure win in my book. It might not be as groundbreaking as the first two entries in the series, it is after all following a now well-tested tradition, but it is done with such conviction and deliberation that one has to pay notice.

As with other serialized characters of the chambara universe like Zatoichi or Nemuri Kiyoshiro, it is exactly that it simultaneously meets our expectations as a pure Lone Wolf movie that doesn't disappoint the way Hollywood sequels do and that it breaks the traditional forms of the period drama that make even a fifth entry of this tried and tested recipe so good.

The plot is of secondary value to the actual journey of Itto and his son. They have been through the crossroads at Hades and now into the land of the demons and there is no turning back. What pushes them through piles of dead bodies is revenge, and I say "them" because Daigoro has made his commitment to follow the same path of blood as his father, their fates inextricably linked through life and death; yet as with other Lone Wolf movies revenge is but a vague part of the storyline. A skeleton that gives these movies form and reason to be but they take life beyond that.

In Lone Wolf and Cub's case their journey is an existential fable bathed in blood, like they are doomed to cut their way through the land for all time and it is through the act of killing that their existence takes meaning. It takes one look at Ogami Itto's grim stare to realize that if there is a god and he would dare to appear in front of him, Itto would swiftly cut him down and move on his path. Takashi Miike understood all this crystal clear when he made Izo.

Speaking of blood, yes, there will be lots of it. It's a staple of the Lone Wolf movies and I wouldn't have it any other way. Arterial sprays, chopped heads and bodies sliced in half. And then there is Tomisaburo Wakayama, the man, the myth, crafting the most mesmerizing character role of his career.

Strongly recommended as are all the other Lone Wolf movies. Watch them in order though.


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