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Babycart at the river styx Tomisaburo Wakayama, 若山 富三郎, Kayo Matsuo, 松尾 嘉代, Akiji Kobayashi, 小林昭, Akihiro Tomikawa, Minoru Ohki, Shin Kishida, 岸田 森

Yuuuuuup – that’s someone’s head that’s just been sliced in half!

Lone Wolf and Cub #2 – Babycart at the River Styx (AKA: 子連れ狼 三途の川の乳母車 and Kozure Ōkami: Sanzu no kawa no ubaguruma) – a disgraced executioner lives on the road with his son as a mercenary, avoiding about five assassination attempts per day. While it feels like more of the same, this film expands on much of the first outing – pushing the larger story forward, upping the action, and having even more stylish and poignant moments – like a slashed-up guy appreciating the sound of blood flying out from his neck. Shots like the sword dripping blood whilst tearing down a fusuma wall, and frozen bodies synchronously hitting the deck – are just fantastic to watch, pure cinema escapism, soaked in cool – it feels decades ahead of its time. Tomisaburo Wakayama further expands his role as the dangerous, effortless, perfectly timed slayer of baddies. This also pushed the boat out by having a crew of super-dangerous female ninjas – which isn’t seen too often in the genre. Simplified, it’s essentially about a guy that walks down a road, mows down some killers (baby sometimes mucks in) then carries on walking down the path – yet this film gets away with it because it’s got so many layers. The biggest disappointment is that all of the scenes filmed at night (around 60% of the film) are terrible and you can’t make out a thing for the most part. This film’s great, and I’d love to give it a 7 or 8 out-of-10, but because such a large chunk of it is just a black frame with something moving around in it, it’s often frustrating to watch.

Score: 6/10

Babycart Sword Tomisaburo Wakayama, 若山 富三郎, Kayo Matsuo, 松尾 嘉代, Akiji Kobayashi, 小林昭, Akihiro Tomikawa, Minoru Ohki, Shin Kishida, 岸田 森