Lone Wolf and Cub - Sword of Vengeance (Kozure Ôkami: Kowokashi udekashi tsukamatsuru) (1972)
Lone Wolf and Cub - Sword of Vengeance (Kozure Ôkami: Kowokashi udekashi tsukamatsuru) Photos
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Critic Reviews for Lone Wolf and Cub - Sword of Vengeance (Kozure Ôkami: Kowokashi udekashi tsukamatsuru)
Here, with no particular imagination or flair, Kenji Misumi directs a blunt melodrama accordingly.
Achieves a few moments of transcendant beauty, and the quick, brutal swordfights ... are thrilling.
The very first act we see Itto perform is the Shogun-sanctioned beheading of a very young boy, immediately suggesting that there is something deeply wrong with the order that this Official Executioner is duty-bound to uphold
A rare film that succeeds as lowbrow visceral entertainment, or as high-concept art.
Audience Reviews for Lone Wolf and Cub - Sword of Vengeance (Kozure Ôkami: Kowokashi udekashi tsukamatsuru)
The first of a six part series about a Shogunate executioner who flees with his son after being framed for disloyalty to his clan. Sword of Vengeance offers a good begining to a long story. Due to being the first part it mainly focuses on character development so there's not a great amount of the main story (apart from the start) but that's not a problem. The biggest problem the film faces is its ending, although the final sword fight was enjoyable the film ended a bit to abrubtly for my liking and I would of liked something more to think about. Enjoyable none the less and I am interested to see where the series goes. P.S I would like to add (to anyone that cares) that this film is better then Princess Blade, I thought about my rating and decided to lower it to 2.5.
Lone Wolf & Cub: Sword of Vengeance is the story of an once distinguished samurai executioner who was framed for treason. Shows how the main character went into being an avenging assassin. After the death of his wife, Ogami Itto makes a vow of vengeance on the people responsible for the murder of his wife and his frame up. With his son Daigoro by his side, Itto tends towards the road of assassin as a way to get even with his arch enemy, the Yagyu Clan. His assignment in this story is to kill a few high officers of a samurai clan who plan on killing their future leader. The film combines the back story of volume one and volume six in the Lone Wolf & Cub comics. The prologue and the first flashback is from volume six. The second flashback later in the movie is from the first volume. These scenes for the most part are faithful to the original source. Lone Wolf & Cub: Sword of Vengeance is not as polish or technically slick as the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa. Does not share Kurosawa's eye for the spectacle touch of his samurai pictures. Also, not deep in depiction of human nature and human error like Akira Kurosawa's Samurai epics. More an authentic look at the period of the Shogun and the fatalistic nature of the samurai warrior. The scene where Ogami Itto gives his son the choice of the ball or the sword is intense and suspenseful. Its in this scene that Itto and his son Daigoro become the Lone Wolf & Cub. The choice given to Daigoro is cruel yet compassionate. When Daigoro touches the sword his path is more fatalistic and worst than death. A very emotional moment for Ogami Itto because of his love for his son and the fact that their path together will be of loneliness and tragedy. The revenge motif dominates the motives of Ogami Itto as well as the plot development of Lone Wolf & Cub: Sword of Vengeance. This motif is done in the same manner as in many Westerns. The theme of revenge makes the film pretty much a Japanese Western. Honor and revenge are the two most important things for Ogami Itto. The motif of revenge is a strong force in both the comic and film version of Lone Wolf and Cub. The action sequences are visually arresting and physically awesome. The sword play in these action scenes are fresh and imaginative. Many of these scenes are gory and violent but not as gory as in some of the later Lone Film & Cub films. Lone Wolf & Cub: Sword of Vengeance does an excellent job in being faithful to the visual style of the samurai sword fights from the graphic novels. The camera work on these action scenes are free flowing with style and booming with graceful movement. The Climatic battle scene builds up with an incredible amount of suspense. Awesome depiction of sword play with some gory moments. The camera moves around in a smooth fashion and acts as another member of the cast. The director, Kenji Misumi does the battle scenes in the graphic novel series. Tomisaburo Wakayama is excellent in doing this scene. The cinematography, editing, and art direction are great. Tomisaburo Wakayama was the perfect actor to play Ogami Itto because of his physical similarites. Akihiro Tomikawa is cute as Ogami Daigoro.
My knowledge in japanese samurai films is a bit narrow, but I'll take the chance to draw a parallelism between east and west cinema that could sound blasphemous or stupid to somebody who knows more about it. But I suppose, if westerns had John Ford as a traditionalist filmmaker and Sergio Leone as a revolutioner who shattered that sanitized and mythic image and made it dirty and unheroic, I could apply that same logic to samurai films of Akira Kurosawa and then to what Kenji Misumi accomplished in this first chapter. I guess that shallow explanation could serve a newcomer to picture what kind of brilliant and bloody action film they'll find here.
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