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.
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
Tomisaburô Wakayama almost collapsed during the lengthy shooting of the epic climactic fight sequence set on a snow-covered mountain. See more »
The weather conditions change between shots in the last scene, the snowfield battle. Generally the sky is overcast with mist. In some shots, blue sky can be seen and sunlight creates shadows on the snow. See more »
An Abrupt Farewell, Leaving Characters at Their Best but Stories Incomplete
The final chapter in Ogami Ittō's quest for vengeance against the scheming clan that murdered his wife, ousted him from honorable life and tirelessly hounded him at every turn. After a brief pause for contemplation in the preceding chapter, the franchise's tendency toward wanton violence has returned in a big way. Ittō single-handedly dispatches close to 150 armed men, high in the cinematic record-books, with dozens of assists from his young son via their gimmicked baby cart. Though many are mere foot soldiers, a surprisingly large number are named, developed, wholly unique characters. That's been a trademark of the series: establish a wild cast of colorful, weird supporting players/rivals and then take turns dispensing with them in swift, decisive swordfights. One would think this might lead to fatigue, both in the audience and the creative room, but the well never seems to run dry and those abrupt, almost anticlimactic duels give the films a distinct, intense physical identity. A new director and a fresh setting also delivers a newer, more refined look and feel to this film. It's the best-shot entry in the series, no doubt, but also one of the most compelling stories. Where the Lone Wolf has thus far operated with relative impunity, negotiating with his blade, this last set of foes turn the tables by ruthlessly executing each innocent native he encounters. The guilt weighs heavily, especially when an entire hotel's staff and guests are hung out to dry, and that forces him to make some difficult decisions. Occasionally it carries things a bit too far - the mystical enemies who effectively swim through dirt are a major reach - but despite those eccentricities I consider this the best of the six films. The only thing it's missing is any sort of conclusion: we reach the very brink of a final duel and the foil merely disappears over the horizon, licking the wounds of his army and vowing to fight another day. It's a tremendous disappointment that they never polished this off, but perhaps it's best to leave on a high note.
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