Introducing new elements and depth to the LONE WOLF AND CUB series, part two once again weaves several stories into a compact, even more violent and gripping saga.
Through an emissary, Lord Retsudo engages a clan of female Yagyu assassins to eliminate wandering ronin Ogami Itto (Tomisaburo Wakayama). Disguised as peasants and travelling performers, they attack and are summarily diced and filleted until only their leader, Sayaka, is left alive. But in
dispatching the clanswomen and the emissary's fighters, Ogami is wounded and collapses in an empty shack, to be tended by his young son, Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa).
When the emissary kidnaps Daigoro, Ogami comes to his rescue, refusing to surrender and killing the emissary, at risk to his son's life. Silently watching the exchange is Sakaya, who then follows Ogami and Daigoro onto a boat carrying the three Hidari brothers, highly skilled fighters hired to
escort a man to the Shogunate. Ogami's mission is to kill that man.
Escaping the boat when it is set afire, Ogami saves the assassin Sakaya. Later in the desert, the Hidari brothers and their convoy are ambushed but easily massacre their attackers before coming across Ogami Itto, who slaughters them all and exits the battlefield hand in hand with his son.
The influence of Sergio Leone and his ilk was apparent in the first installment of this series, but here it's even more pronounced; the spectacular climactic battle scenes duplicate the tense atmosphere found in spaghetti westerns. The visuals throughout neatly top the LONE WOLF, with delicate
flourishes and surreal moments of creative gore. In the desert, the Hidari brothers, as seemingly psychic as Ogami, pause for no apparent reason and plunge their weapons into the sand. When the earth begins to bleed, they yank out the bodies of their intended ambushers, buried under mats. In
another action sequence, the severed parts of the fighters drop to the floor, accompanied by an effective use of stark silence and soft rustling sounds.
Cold and merciless, with a complex code of honor, Ogami is the ultimate existential antihero. His relationship with Daigoro adds emotional resonance to the tale, in the major thematic development of this installment. Daigoro begins to figure more prominently as an observer and even participant,
utilizing the cart's lethal tricks to kill one of the female assassins and separate several attackers from their legs. More significantly, Daigoro saves his father's life in the shack, carrying water in his mouth to dribble onto Ogami's lips. At another point, Ogami is seen bathing his son,
protecting him, teaching him to count, and allowing him to die if necessary, to preserve Ogami's samurai honor. It's wholly appropriate that when this film was conflated with part one and dubbed into English as SHOGUN ASSASSIN (1980), the repackagers told the tale through Daigoro's eyes, making
him the reflective narrator. (Graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1972
- Rating: NR
- Review: Introducing new elements and depth to the LONE WOLF AND CUB series, part two once again weaves several stories into a compact, even more violent and gripping saga. Through an emissary, Lord Retsudo engages a clan of female Yagyu assassins to eliminate wan… (more)