HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Levelling, The
Dog Days
Annabelle Creation
Once Upon a Time in Shanghai
Sssssss
Woman in Question, The
Atomic Blonde
Doulos, Le
Okja
Bob le Flambeur
Wedding in White
Léon Morin, Priest
Napping Princess, The
Scorpions and Miniskirts
Berlin File, The
Beaches of Agnès, The
Blue Jeans
Garokawa - Restore the World
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Gleaners & I, The
Peter of Placid Forest
Golden Bird, The
War for the Planet of the Apes
One Sings, the Other Doesn't
Great Gilly Hopkins, The
Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon
Doom
Cléo from 5 to 7
Ballerina
Night Flight from Moscow
   
 
Newest Articles
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
   
 
  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 6101 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
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
   

 

Last Updated: