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Still both on the run from the Yagyu-assassins & on a quest for
vengeance on the Yagyu clan (why ? See Sword
of Vengeance), Itto Ookami (Tomisaburo Wakayama) is on the way to
Akashi with his small son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa). There he has been
hired by the Awa-textile dyers (which was back then big business) to kill
a spy for who is supposed to deliver the secret of the Awa-indigo to
the shogunate, & is guarded by the 3 Hidari brothers (Akiji Kobayashi,
Minoru Ohki, Shin Kishida), extremely fierce fighters.
But on the road
to Akashi he is already expected by Ozunu (Izumi Ayukawa) & his
assassins as well as the Akashi Yagyu clanswomen led by Sayaka (Kayo
Matsuo), of course, despite most of the assassins are valiant fighters,
Ookami has little problems slaughtering them, until only Sayaka, Ozunu
& 3 of Ozunu's men are left alive. So Ozunu decides the only way to
get Ookami is through Daigoro ... & since Ookami was wopunded during
his fight for life, kidnapping Daigoro is not too difficult a task.
when Ozunu has Daigoro hanging over a deep well & tries to force
Ookami to give himself up, he is in for an unpleasant surprise ... Ookami
calims to not care about his son, almost persuades them to drop him, then
though slaughters Ozunu & his men in record time & can catch the
rope his son is hanging on before Daigoro's body hits the ground. Sayaka,
the last of the gang left alive, looks on in disbelief but allows Ookami
to save his son, as she did feel uneasy from the start to get to the man
through his child ...
Later, Ookami & son board the ship to Akashi,
the very same ship the Hidari brothers & Sayaka are on. But the
Awa-clan seems to have hired a few additional assassins who set the ship
on fire to get rid of the Hidaris, so soon everyone involved has to take
an involuntary bath in the cold water in order to save him-/herself from
being burnt alive ... & after that little bath, Ookami actually saves
Sayaka from freezing to death ...
The desert: The Hidaris, accompanied
by a small batallion of soldiers, accompany the shogun's spy to Edo, when
Ookami stops them & has little troubles in killing them, cutting them
up, dismembering the Hidaris, ony one of the soldiers who still dares to
fight him, & of course the spy ...
Ookami's journey goes on, as he
pushes Daigoro's cart through the country, but when Sayaka tries to join
him, out of gratitude, he pulls his sword, making it quite clear that he
needs no company of a Yagyu-woman ...
Graphic depiction does
not necessarily make a movie any better (more often than not quite the
contrary is the case), but this one, for some reason, is immensely
enjoyable because of its many scenes of over-the-top, comic-book-style
scenes of dismemberment & mutilation, which are in many instances so
out-of-this-world they cannot be taken wholly seriously but rather as a
form of twisted performing arts (best example when the Yagyu-clanswomen
take apart - literally apart - one of Ozunu's men, just for demonstration
A considerable pace & straight-forward storytelling also
help make this film the best of the Lone Wolf and Cub-series.