Shogun Assassin (1980) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
88 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
I worked on this movie as sound engineer
backwoodsgardens5824 February 2014
I was working for Mark Lindsay at wonderland, when the project fell in his lap. most of the additional soundtrack was performed on a Prophet 5 synthesizer along with a jupiter 8 keyboard. the zings and sound effects as weapons are used was created on a EMU (a wall sized synthe made of individual modules) and was recorded on a Trident flexymix console. Michael Lewis and Mark Lindsay worked so cohesively as if they were one and the same. The working title for one of the longer songs was "chinks in armor"

this movie was banned in 1983 in the USA because of the scene where wet and freezing the three travelers huddle together naked an the little boy flicks the nipples of the fem fatal and the nipple gets hard. fairly risqué for the time.

years later the only place i could get a copy was from England.
19 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Choose the sword and you will join me...
dr.gonzo-413 February 2001
I had heard a lot about this movie for quite some time but was never able to get my hands on it. If you have ever listened to The Gza/Genius album "Liquid Swords", it contains several soundbites from the film including the opening commentary by Daigoro(Cub). SHOGUN ASSASSIN is actually a re-released, dubbed version of the first two "Lone Wolf and Cub" films that came out from Japan in the Seventies. When I finally attained a copy of it and watched it, I was comepletely blown away. This has got to be hands down the best samurai/ninja film ever to grace the United States.

Enter Ogami Itto, aka Lone Wolf, a man who served his shogun well as the royal executioner. Until one day when the Shogun killed his wife and framed him, which sent him on a dark path of vengeance. So begins the story of Lone Wolf and Cub, a father and his little boy who travel from place to place as assassins for hire and are always watching out for the Shogun and his ninja army. Anyone who gets in their way are quickly sliced and diced by Lone Wolf's sword and a wooden baby cart rigged with all sorts of crazy weapons.

The action sequences are breathtaking, much like Kurasawa's but with ten times more blood. Blood that doesn't just pour, but spurts everywhere like a hose. Ultimately I couldn't help being moved by the story: a father and his son and their eternal bond in vengeance. This is just one of those cult films that you pray at night about, hoping that someday they re-release it in theaters or make a new film just like it. There are six films total in the "Lone Wolf and Cub" series that are avaible uncut on VHS and hopefully soon, on DVD.
33 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good but nobody knows why
robertbhart7 October 2013
I loved this movie but I couldn't even begin to explain why. On paper it is terrible. The movie is made with bits of footage from other movies. It's dubbed. The story line is basic and irrelevant to why I like the movie. Not a great start and yet, once I started watching it, I couldn't stop.

I used to listen to Wu Tang CDs when I was a kid and the Genius GZA album Liquid swords borrows a bunch of lines from this movie. I always thought they were cool but I didn't know they came from this movie.

The part that is hard to explain, is that my wife, who doesn't like martial arts flicks or gore, also liked this movie.

This isn't the kind of movie that you see by accident on TV. You'll probably have to buy it on DVD to see it. I waited for it to be on Netflix but eventually gave up and ordered a copy for $10.

I'm glad I did. This movie inspired other movie makers and despite its age, it is very cool from start to finish. I promise you won't get bored. People talk about how the footage from taken from other movies but it is the new sound track that is added that makes it special and deserving of being judged as a movie in its own right.

It ends very suddenly and I wasn't 100% satisfied with where they left it but in general, its and entertaining experience that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to movie fans. In a world where it is hard to find something different, sometimes you have to look to the past to find something new.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Guess that everybody can be a director this way.
Boba_Fett11385 January 2010
This is not an actual movie but a re-edited version of the first couple of Japanese 'Kozure Ôkami' movies, with English voices added to it. Nevertheless this doesn't prevent Robert Houston from giving himself full credit for directing and writing this.

It's not like I hated watching this but it all also seemed pretty pointless to me at the same time. This version got obviously made to aim more toward the American market but that of course just doesn't give you the right to just take a bunch of movies and edit them into one and cash in on it.

This re-editing of course also takes away a lot out of the movie. The storytelling isn't always anything too great now and scenes often too rapidly follow each other, without making much sense. It's like a re-edited version of only the action sequences. Guess it's good for the pace of the movie but there is a reason why Japanese movies are often such slow moving ones. It takes its time to build up the story and put down its characters. This of course just isn't very much the case with this movie.

But even so, this still remains a good watch, due to it's great source material. It's action sequences especially stand out and it's one of those movies with exaggerated fight sequences and squirting blood. The fans of the genre will still get a kick out of it, though they would of course most likely prefer the original movies. This movie really made me want to watch the originals as well, so I guess this movie is still good for something.

19 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the most entertaining action movies of all time. Lone Wolf is a relentless one man killing machine!
Infofreak24 April 2004
'Shogun Assassin' is actually re-edited footage from two of the early 1970s Japanese Lone Wolf and Cub movies, dubbed into English. The brains behind this idea were Robert Houston, one of the stars of Wes Craven's horror classic 'The Hills Have Eyes', and David Weisman, the writer/director of the Edie Sedgwick cult classic 'Ciao Manhattan'. On paper this really shouldn't have worked, but it does. It not only "works", it's one of the greatest action movies ever made, and a source of inspiration for both John Carpenter and Quentin Tarantino. I only hope that Tarantino's references to 'Shogun Assassin' in 'Kill Bill' introduce it to a whole new audience. Martial arts veteran Tomisaburo Wakayama plays Ogami Itto, aka "Lone Wolf", a samurai who refuses to serve the evil Shogun. After the murder of his wife he hits the road with his young son, who he pushes along in a souped up baby cart. Lone Wolf has one thing on his mind - vengeance. Along the way many assassins and Ninja try to stop him, but he is a relentless one man killing machine. His journey finally leads him to a confrontation with the three Masters Of Death, who are escorting the Shogun's brother. Lone Wolf is one of the coolest figures in action movie history, and the baby cart gimmick really works, especially as his infant son narrates the story. The frequent fight sequences are exciting and very brutal, and there isn't a dull moment in the whole movie. I can't recommend 'Shogun Assassin' highly enough. For me it stands alongside 'Mad Max', 'The Driver', 'For A Few Dollars More' and (the original version of) 'The Getaway' as one of the most entertaining action movies of all time.
26 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the classic Samaria sword movies and lots of blood.
stormruston21 August 2005
I think this film is almost as famous for its tour de force editing,taking a min-series and making it into a coherent masterpiece of 86 min as it is for its action sequences.

The basic story is about a Lone Wolf. A very proud samurai who worked as the official decapitator for the shogun.The paranoid shogun sends out his ninja to kill lone wolf, but get his wife instead.At this point there is the classic "choose the(toy) ball and join your mother, choose the sword and join me" the son joins him and we hear the story from his eyes from this point.It is pure carnage from here on in, as the evil shogun sets his ninja out on Lone Wolf along with the brutal Masters of death.

There is a lot of carnage and blood in this movie...I MEAN a lot. But the father son relationship is touching and strongly developed.

This movie is a classic that is only just starting to show its age, my 8 might be a bit low of a vote really.

If you like fast sword play and quick deaths watch this movie.
22 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Revenge of the Shogun's decapitator
Viva_Chiba25 December 2010
Shogun Assassin is a combination of the first 2 movies of the "Lone Wolf and Cub" saga, this "adaptation" was intended for the American grind house circuit and British cienemas, but probably it got a release in other western countries too.

Just the fact that this movie is just an adaptation, you would expect something dreadful and horrible....but it's not ! The dubbing is great, but sometimes it gets hilarious, the soundtrack is awesome and it was composed especially for the Shogun Assassin edit, not for the original movies !

The action is cool and well choreographed, with lots of sword fighting and lots of blood, including lots of bloody sword slashings, some finger chopping and decapitations !

The movie is not boring at all, check it out !
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Pales in comparison to the Original six Kozure Okami films.
Rautus19 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Shogun Assassin (1980)

Directed by Robert Houston

Written by: Robert Houston & David Weisman


Kozure Okami (Lone Wolf and Cub) is a well known Manga series that was first published in the 1970's that told the Story of a Shogunate Executioner who one day returns home to find his Wife and entire Household murdered by the Shadow Yagyu Clan. Ogami Itto; discovers that his Baby son Daigoro managed to survive. Framed by having a Funeral Tablet with the Shogun's Crest on it Ogami Itto; decides to have his Revenge on the Shadow Yagyu with his Son bu his side, Ogami Itto; and Daigoro becomes Demons walking the Crossroads to Hell, they become the Lone Wolf and Cub.

During the 70's the Kozure Okami Manga series was Adapated into six popular Samuria movies that had a similar style to the Legendary Zatoichi series.

Then in 1980 David Weisman who was a fan of the Kozure Okami movies obtained the rights to the films from the American Office of Toho Studios for $50,000. David Weisman and Robert Houston then took Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance and Lone Wolf and Cub: Babycart at the River Styx and spliced them together by using 12 minutes from the first film and the rest from the second film.

One thing that Shogun Assassin does is dumb down the Story and Character Devoplment just to focus on the Violence which is a little bit disappointing.

The Dubbing and Narration by Daigoro is Cheesy while the Music at times doesn't really fit with the Film and the Editing is slightly messy.


Ogami Itto decides to rebel against the Shogun after they Murder his Wife, travelling through Japan with his Son the Lone Wolf and Cub wipe out anyone who tries to stop them.

Lone Wolf and Cub are assigned to kill The Shogun's Masters of Death, three Brothers who kill anyone who stands in the Shogun's way.

Ninja's hired by the Shogun try to Assassinate the Lone Wolf and Cub but are quickly sliced apart by his Blade but not without badly injuring him. Daigoro helps his Dad regain his Stenght meanwhile the Shogun devise a plan to stop the Lone Wolf and Cub by kidnapping Daigoro.

The Ninja's successfully capture Daigoro, Ogami Itto finds his Son hanging above a well. Threatening to drop him Ogami Itto informs them that there both willing to Die, Daigoro is dropped into the well while Ogami Itto murders all the Oppnents except for the Female Ninja.

Talking his Son out the well the Two continue with their Journey to stop The Shogun and eliminate the deadly Masters of Death.


Shogun Assassin is okay but when compared to the Original six Kozure Okaimi movies it pales in comparison but overall if you enjoy Cheesy Dubbed Movies full of non stop Violence and very little plot then you'll enjoy Shogun Assassin however if you've seen the six Kozure Okami movies then there's no real reason to watch Shogun Assassin. 5/10
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A difficult film to review
wierzbowskisteedman15 July 2005
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.
21 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fantastic samurai film with lots of blood and violence.
poolandrews20 August 2002
This film starts with the narration of Tizuro, lone Wolfs son. His narration gives quick details of his families life and the night his mother and Lone Wolfs wife Azame was murdered by a vicious shoguns ninja. Lone Wolf is understandably not pleased about this and sets out to avenge her death, taking his son with him. He becomes an assassin for hire(well he needs to pay the bills, right?). On his journey he has to face the masters of death, a trio of the shoguns very unpleasant samurai each with a unique weapon which are all really cool. I was surprised to learn that this is in fact edited together from the first two movies in the baby cart series. The American producers and editors did a great job and you would never know unless you were told. Anyway this is a fantastic movie, fast paced, quite well dubbed, great music, nice widescreen photography and has some awesome action/fighting scenes which are usually dripping in blood and gore. If your looking for some violent, gory, cool samurai action you will not find better than this. Highly recommended.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
They've taken something great and turned it into crap!
biker45115 July 2009
I'd just recently discovered the "Lone Wolf and Cub" series and having just watched all of them I found them to be some of the best of the genre that I'd ever encountered. I watched them in Japanese with English subtitles and found every one of them to be exceptional. When I saw that "Shogun Assassin" was based on the "Lone Wolf and Cub" series I was excited to see it, but oh what a letdown it turned out to be. Some hacks have taken the original series and cut clips out of each of them, then re-edited those clips into the most god-awful movie I've ever seen, and then claimed to be the "writers". I knew that something was off as soon as I saw that Retsudo, from the real series was shown as the "Shogun". In the originals he was the head of a clan who had stolen the post of royal executioner from Ogami Itto through deception. In the original Daigoro (the son) hardly ever speaks more than the word "Pa", yet in here he is the narrator. The dialog is just plain insipid and has no relationship to the original story. Skip this worthless dreck and find the original "Lone Wolf and Cub" series.

In reading all the glowing reviews I have to wonder if they were written by friends of the people who put this together, or by people who have never seen the original series or other great Samurai series such as the Zatoichi movies or other greats of the genre.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Crap! Watch the "real" Kozure Ôkami series instead!!!
drgonzo2123 October 2006
This movie is crap. Basically a mesh of 6 really cool samurai movies mixed into one film that is utter trash and totally lacks the feel of the originals. Ignore the rave reviews of the people who just don't know any better. Robert Houston, "The director" is actually a washed up actor from the 70's. Ugh! Another example of Hollywood taking something great and regurgitating onto movie screens for retarded mass audiences to lap up. I noticed most people who remember watching this movie in the 80's are over rating this movie big time! I think perhaps they are not putting aside childhood nostalgia and voting based on that. I watched this in the 80's and I wasn't really impressed. However, when I saw the originals from the 1970's -I was blown away! That's also when I noticed that the English dubbed voices are horrid! Itto Ogami's voice/dialog in Shogun assassin is simply ridiculous. Look at the voice over cast -Sandra Bernhard??????? Jeez! What nonsense! The real voice of Tomisaburo Wakayama is powerful and his laugh is haunting and scary at the same time. I also love how the super hacks David Weisman and Robert Houston credit themselves as "writers". That makes me sick. Skip right over this mess and watch the Kozure Ôkami series instead!
13 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Swordfight fans, you will reach Nirvana during this orgy of carnage!
EL BUNCHO5 December 2001
For a film edited from highlights of two films in a series of six, SHOGUN ASSASSIN is far, FAR better than it has any right to be. That said, track down the originals since they are all available on video in widescreen, subtitled editions. The cinematography will make you drool, and the swordfighting is probably the most impressive samurai-type swordwork ever put on film. Another plus is Lone Wolf, played by Tomisaburo Wakayama. Casting him for a handsome comic book hero is not what would come to mind immediately, but it is his middle-aged dumpiness that makes him utterly believeable during his fight scenes. Swordfight fans, you will reach Nirvana during this orgy of carnage! For a more impressive display of Wakayama's skills, check out LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH (frequently found in rental shops as LUPINE WOLF), the third film in the Lone Wolf series which was actually released in the states six years before SHOGUN ASSASSIN during the kung fu movie craze. In LIGHTNING SWORDS, the film remains totally unedited from the original and features a showdown between Lone Wolf and army that is equipped with not just swords, but arrows and rifles as well!!!
9 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Seminal work
Chris_Docker5 February 2005
Shogun Assassin is like a slice of movie history where you can imagine a young Quentin Tarantino jiggling about in his seat going wild with excitement at the potential. Shot on a budget, with fairly unsophisticated equipment, it is the film that is credited with being the inspiration to Kill Bill as well as influencing the slew of films that started with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Here you see, in rudimentary form, striking use of colour, simple landscapes used with stunning effect, emotional involvement of the audience (the hero carries his infant child everywhere with him while defeating rival swordsmen), and imaginatively choreographed fights - rather than mere show of technical skill. But the film is quite dated, even compared to other 80s films, so is more of interest to aficionados than those wanting straight entertainment. Expect lots of blood.
13 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Surrealistic voyage into bloodletting
tonyu-229 July 2001
This film is not for the faint of heart. It's also not extremely realistic, what with blood spurting in all directions at almost every turn. However, it's not intended to be realistic. It's a fantasy ride. It's intended to be entertaining to those who enjoy film making of this genre, and to serve as a vehicle for a hero. And Lone Wolf is a hero of grand stature with a talent for defending himself and his own. And throughout the film, as he's pursued by hired assassins he defends himself and his child with style and brutal grace. Throughout the film, the glorious examples of extreme bloodshed are observed by his young son who accompanies his father... the son narrates the film in a manner that's almost mesmerizing in its effectiveness as events unfold.

This film has some of the most stylish and expressive swordsmanship you're ever likely to see. And throughout the bloody brutality and edged weaponry action there are some examples of the kindest and most humane exchanges you could ever imagine, particularly between father and son... some profound, some humorous, some just simply ordinary.

This film is hard to find and it's almost never seen on pay cable anymore, although Cinemax used to run it on occasion some years ago. However, it's still around in some video rental stores and on some of the auction sites now and then, so if you spot this film somewhere grab it. It's an amazing way to spend an evening, watching Lone Wolf and child take on the world. I looked a long time before I found my copy in an older video rental store that was going out of business and was selling off tapes. I bought it for four dollars... I'd have paid MUCH more for this obscure little gem of a film that was actually edited together from episodes of a Japanese TV series that aired in the early 1970s.

Watch this film with an open mind and with acceptance. It's a journey into furious bloodletting, subtle glory, and profound dignity.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
First dubbed movie I liked
rickymartin00651 September 2004
Shogun Assassin is a very nice movie and a real must for samurai-fans. This movie doesn't take that long .. but it has all in it to make a movie great. There's some eastern mystique, there's "swords & sorcery", there's much blood, yes even some nudity for those who want it ... And it has some decent family values. Father loves his son, son loves his father and together they travel through the ancient Japan. I really liked this movie! That's why I gave it 8 / 10. Now, about the dubbing. I HATE dubbing. Come on people, why would you want to dub a movie?! Tom Cruise speaking French? Jet Li with a low American voice? A movie is unique, please keep it that way. So, I was a bit disappointed when I discovered this Shogun Assassin was dubbed too. But I still liked it, because for those who're into Wu-Tang Clan and especially GZA's Liquid Swords will recognize the many samples. But still ...
7 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I guess I wish it was different. But a wish is only a wish.
lastliberal26 August 2008
I generally hate dubbed movies, and I make no exception for this one. It would have been rated higher had it been subtitled. I hate losing the beauty of the language while watching a film.

For those who want to see a Samurai film that shows the craft as well as the beauty, you could hardly go wrong with this film. Actually two different films joined together to make one, it gives a taste of the Lone Wolf and Cub series.

Tomisaburo Wakayama was magnificent as the Samurai that traveled the roads with his son hiring himself out. You could bring anything to bear and he would dispatch them with ease. No matter how many came to kill him, he always walked away with his son. The Masters of Death were no match.

There is blood, lots of blood. Limbs falling to the ground and blood spurting like from a lawn sprinkler. Death in a Samurai film is not pretty.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I've seen quite a few hack'n'slash samurai movies...
mister_pig21 March 2002
I've seen quite a few hack'n'slash samurai movies, and I've also seen quite a few serious samurai films, but this is hands down the funniest movie ever made concerning sword swinging super men! If you have only heard about this one, then you have no idea what you are missing! The only movie that can match its intensity (action-wise) is the Road Warrior. See this one at all costs! And yes, I am aware of the actual series of "Baby Cart" films, but they are not really as strong as this American Tour-de-force of editing.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hyper-violent samurai epic
drngor16 December 2000
I've wanted to see this movie for a long time now. Ever since Genius/GZA had excerpts from this film on his first album and I learned about the Lone Wolf series, I've really wanted to see this movie. I must say that I wasn't disappointed. This is a highly entertaining film. The shogun's executioner and his son go out on the run and must contend with samurai, female ninja, and 3 killers called "The Masters of Death." There's a lot of sword fighting, all of it is over-the-top bloody. This guy is one bad mutha...that's for sure. The only scene I didn't care for was when him, his son, and a woman try to keep themselves warm after fleeing a ship, I thought it was essentially unnecessary. I liked the child's narration, it went along good with the movie. And check out the way the Master of Death with the club gets it...whoa boy.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Flying blades
DJ Inferno17 June 2001
The hero in this Eastern action flick is not a sword fighter - he´s a human killing machine! The fighting sequences in this film are very short at all, because none of his enemies really seems to have a chance to defeat him. "Lone Wolf" kills armies of ninjas, soldiers and outlaws what causes a higher body count than any Rambo movie has got... The violence and the gore in "Shogun Assassin" are extremely high: there are splitted heads and rivers of blood, so the fans of those amusing Jackie Chan-movies should stay far away!!! Otherwise director Robert Houston has created a fantastic menacing atmosphere what´s quite matching to the dark revenge-story.

5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Perhaps the Greatest Samarai Movie Ever!
epeteet9 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I had been wanting to track this movie down for quite some time and when i finally scored a copy i must say i was far from disappointed. It's about a traveling samurai and his son. Every ninja in sight wants to kill these dudes so they get in tons of sword battles. That's about the extent of the plot. All you really need to know is that Shogun Assassin is a bloody masterpiece...and when i say bloody it's no exaggeration. There's beheadings, severed limbs and gallons and gallons of spurting blood. This is a very bizarre movie (aren't all foreign movies?) and that's what makes it so great; well that and all the excessive bloodshed of course. For example there's a very weird scene were the father rips this chicks clothes off and just when you think he's gonna rape her he, his son, and the woman all huddle up naked to keep warm. This allows his young son to cop a feel. Haha anyway it's a great flick for splatter fiends and ninja fans alike. Don't miss out!
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
peter-1828 May 1999
Almost everything about this film is flawless. What I particularly like about Shogun Assassin is that it can be enjoyed in a number of different situations; a mindless Samurai film to be watched with friends or as a serious piece of work to be analyzed by yourself. This is a quality piece of cinema in every respect. The music score, although obviously composed with early 80's electronics, doesn't adhere to any specific genre. So often, movies date horribly due to the insertion of popular music of the time. Thus, this attempt at fashion ultimately dates such movies horribly. The fresh, unique and intensely moody score of Shogun Assassin highlights this film as one which has not dated. The dubbing is excellent (apart from the Shogun himself). The script is just raw meat (every sentence is tough and extremely dramatic and no one ever says anything trivial) and the slightly incongruent translation (although some of the phrases stand out as being very cool; "his Ninja scum torment us by night with their supreme torture methods") in some places can easily be forgiven by the fact that the characters in this film have the most moody and satisfying voices in any film I've seen. The direction is staggering, and moments when we see the 3 Masters of Death standing at the front of the ship, or the Ninja group in the forest, standing totally still, or when we see the Shogun near the start as the great doors slowly creak open, are moments of cinema history not to be forgotten. The cinematography is amazing, with many scenes exhibiting almost monochrome color schemes to emphasize the dramatic effect, and different types of camera have also been used to great effect. The slightly vertically stretched picture lends a unique powerful stylization to this already masterful film. Shogun Assassin is very violent, but although this film is treated very seriously, the blood color always reminds us that this is just a seventies Samurai film. The acting, the music score, the child's voice over, all the other voices, the direction and the cinematography are all very close to perfection. It is, in short, a violent work of art, and the only fault I feel Shogun Assassin has is that the ending comes a bit too soon (under one and a half hours) and sudden and is fairly unsatisfying. Also, the sword fights are, although very slick, not amazing. Bottom line; this film is not to be trivialized.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
...revenge is a dish best served cold
Dean Routledge22 April 1999
Shogun Assassin is the amalgamation of the Lone Wolf and Cub movies which in turn are based on the Japanese popular comic books.

The plot of the film revolves around the shoguns chief executioner and his son. The shogun goes insane and orders him killed. He sends assassins who, when they don't find him kill his wife instead thus sending him on a cold blooded road of revenge. The lone wolf (as he is called) now wanders the countryside pushing his young son in his wooden pram (which is armed to the hilt!), taking any jobs as a hired killer he can find on the way.

The fight scenes are like mini ballets with copious amounts of fake blood which is comical to say the least, but the swordplay is fabulous. You literally marvel at the way he carves through armies of enemies. Another charming feature of the movies is the constant narrative by his young son and many of the less violent moments of the film are often quite touching concerning the relationship between the father and son.

A great action film which is now available after many years on the banned list. One to watch.....
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
QKnown16 October 2001
"Very mind-blowing" is the best way to describe SHOGUN ASSASSIN. Yes, it's a combination of two previous films put together, but its non-stop storyline, and its unreleting gore factor, puts the viewer into an unfamilar journey never before taken.

Nice voice-overs by the Shogun (Yagyu clan member) and the narrator (The infant, Diagoro, who gives both a comic and haunting view on his road to never-ending violence) and for those who thought the babycart was full of genius weaponry, should check out the third episode-BABY CART TO HADES, which may contain the first example of the Gattling Gun put to use!
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Possibly the coolest of the video nasties.
BA_Harrison26 May 2012
I imagine that many Japanese cinema purists look down on Shogun Assassin, viewing it as bastardised art, the film consisting of the juiciest bits from the first two classic Lone Wolf and Cub films edited together and re-dubbed for the US market. I, however, see the film as a fond reminder of the video nasty era when, against the wishes of the BBFC, I proudly owned an ex-rental, big box VIPCO VHS copy of the movie; it was one of the highlights of my collection, a gloriously violent saga that introduced me to the world of unflappable samurais and arterial spray, for which I will be ever grateful.

Of course these days the censors have seen sense and all of the Lone Wolf and Cub movies are available in their entirety on DVD (pristine prints in their original language with English subtitles, no less); but while it's great to see the movies as the filmmakers intended, I still get a kick out of Shogun Assassin's incongruous American voice-over, grimy 80s synth score and erratic editing, elements that take me back to a time when collecting banned movies was a challenge and the viewing seemed more rewarding as a result. As soon as Daigoro's narration kicks in, I'm back in the darkened bedroom of my youth, revelling in all the stylish blood and violence wreaked by super cool rōnin for hire Ogami Itto (Tomisaburô Wakayama), enjoying the fact that I'm sampling forbidden fruit, and it tastes good.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed