Shogun Assassin was a film produced in the 1980’s using footage from the two Lone Wolf and Cub Movies Sword of Vengeance and Baby Cart at the River Styx.

Lone wolf is a Samurai with a wife and young boy.  When the Shogun sends men to murder him , but instead murder his wife he takes Daigoro (his son – the ‘cub’) and swears to avenge his wife’s death.

From there he travels with his son using his superior skills as a samurai to kill all assassins sent to kill him by the Shogun. With many different groups being sent to kill him, he eventually goes after 3 of the Shogun’s sons to kill them.

A Story of Father and Son – with a Twist!

We’re shown early in the film that Lone Wolf has made his decision to avenge his wife’s death, but he doesn’t decide his son’s path.

Instead he places a ball and his sword down and tells the then infant Daigoro “Choose the ball, and you will join your mother.  Choose the sword, and you join me on my path“.  When Daigoro then reaches for the sword, you know things are going to get interesting.

When alone you see Lone Wolf and his son travelling like any parent and child, but the unique nature of their relationship stands out when attacked.   Daigoro says in his narration that he counts the number of men his father kills.  In response to this Lone Wolf tells his son ‘not to count, just pray for their souls”.  But still he counts so he knows how many men to pray for.

Lone Wolf and Cub

The two have a very strategic procedure between them.  Lonewolf uses Daigoro’s cart to attack his enemies, and Daigoro himself even uses a hidden weapon (that shoots out at the push of a button) to kill an enemy.

Even more interesting is the the scene where Daigoro is caught and is suspended above a well.  With a word being spoken, Daigoro pushes off his sandal, so it goes falling into the well – a tactic for counting how long it will take for Daigoro to fall and hit the water.

This little communication gives Lone Wolf the information he needs before ripping apart his enemies, after telling them to “kill him if you dare” and that his son is “not afraid of death”.  You just know all hell is going to break loose!

Throughout the movie Lone Wolf is always mindful of his son, and even carries him in one arm during the first fight scene chopping down is opponents with one arm.

The whole father and son theme makes this a pretty unique set of characters for a martial arts film!

The Action

This movie has an excellent visual style!

The fight scenes are raw (not the most technically brilliant you’ve ever seen), and just has bloody and violent as any other Japanese Cult Martial Arts movie of the era.

The villians

Expect to see a few heads being chopped in half, followed by the red spray of blood that sprays like a pressurised hose.  You’ll see limbs ruthlessly cut off, along with noses and fingers.  But mostly, you’ll notice lots and lots of blood!

The nature of this movie and it’s explicit violence really adds to the film, and is perfectly balanced with Daigoro’s narration of his and his father’s journey.

Another aspect that made the action of the movie different was, unlike most Samurai films, the characters weren’t limited to the use of the sword.  Some of his enemies had clubs and claws, while Lone wolf himself used an array of short swords and knives, aswell as a spear that he was able to draw from Daigoro’s cart.

A really inventive movie for it’s time with plenty of old-skool bloody violence!

Fight scenes

The Verdict?

An absolute classic for martial arts films.  Fans of Japanese and Samurai films must see this movie! If you’re nto all that big on the Japanese stuff then it may not be your cup of tea, but it’s still one of the better ones.  if you get the chance – check it out!

On Blu Ray –

Region A (US & Canada)
Shogun Assassin on Blu-ray

Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, etc)
Shogun Assassin on Blu-ray

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Shogun Assassin on DVD

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Shogun Assassin on DVD

Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Shogun Assassin on DVD 

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