HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bruce Lee & I
Doraemon The Movie: Nobita's Dinosaur
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Babycart at the River Styx Like Father, Like SonBuy this film here.
Year: 1972
Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Akihiro Tomikawa, Kayo Matsuo, Akiji Kobayash, Minoru Ohki, Shin Kishida, Shogen Nitta, Kanji Ehata, Katsuhei Matsumoto
Genre: Action, Martial Arts, Historical
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Babycart at the River Styx was the second film in the Lone Wolf and Cub series, based on the popular Manga stories of the wandering Japanese swordsman-for-hire Ogami Itto and his young son Daigoro. For years the Babycart movies were best known in the West as Shogun Assassin, the dubbed 1981 American production which edited together the first film (Sword of Vengeance) and this one to surprisingly satisfying effect. But it’s the original movies that are really worth watching, and Babycart at the River Styx is up there with Part 5 (Land of Demons) as the series’ best entry.

Itto may have killed the man responsible for his wife's death – the evil Shogun he once worked for – but he still has plenty of enemies out there. In particular, a group of deadly female samurai have been ordered to destroy Itto by any means necessary. Meanwhile, our taciturn hero and his young lad have been hired by group of dye manufacturers to kill one of their number who is about to fall into the hands of their rivals.

Without the need for a back-story that Sword of Vengeance had, River Styx leaps straight into the action. Within a minute, Lone Wolf has caved in the skull of one would-be assassin and speared another, and as in that first film, the day-glo blood sprays majestically. There’s an unquestionable beauty in the wholesale slaughter that director Kenji Misumi unleashes – many of the fights are conducted in silence, and Itto’s victims often remain rooted to the spot after he has killed, only dropping to the ground once his sword is resheathed. The climatic battle between Lone Wolf and the Hidari brothers, three ‘Masters of Death’ given the task of escorting the dye maker to his enemies, is particularly spectacular. Fought beneath a blazing desert sun, Itto dispatches them one by one, the editing and Misumi’s rich photography creating a graceful, almost dreamlike sequence.

Tomisaburo Wakayama is a grumpy, jowly leading man, and there is little attempt to make Itto a particularly sympathetic character. Granted, his life has been destroyed by the insane Shogun but he readily admits he and his son have chosen a path of evil. It’s pretty hard to cheer when he finally murders the defecting dye maker, who’s only crime is to run in fear from his former employers. Even when Daigoro is kidnapped by the leader of the lady ninjas and dangled above a well, Itto refuses to surrender, stating that both father and son have known they would ultimately die bloodily. Nevertheless, the bond between the pair is central to the film, adding a subtle but important emotional dimension.

Despite the authentically realised period setting, River Styx has a strange, mystical tone and is marked by any number of surreal touches. Itto and Daigoro’s journey is accompanied by intermittant chiming bells – a reminder that death is never far away perhaps? – Lone Wolf and the Hidari brothers stand talking beneath deck on a burning boat for minutes on end, while the blood exits the cut throat of the third brother as red dust, blowing eerily away in the desert wind. Only the music – samurai funk – jars slightly; the rest is a thrilling, haunting gem.

Aka: Kozure Ôkami: Sanzu No Kawa No Ubaguruma
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 6865 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Kenji Misumi  (1921 - 1975)

Japanese director who specialised in samurai and swordplay films. Best known for the Babycart/Lone Wolf and Cub movies from the 70s, of which he directed four - Sword of Vengeance, Babycart at the River Styx, Babycart to Hades and Babycart in the Land of Demons. Also turned in several Zatoichi movies in the 60s, such as Showdown for Zatoichi, Zatoichi Challenged and Fight, Zatoichi, Fight.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: