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Lone Wolf and Cub [Blu-ray]

 Unrated   Blu-ray
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 197.94
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Japanese Samurai Movies Jan. 6 2010
Format:DVD
This Lone Wolf and Cub box set consists of all six original Japanese movies from the 1970's that are based on the graphic novel of the same name. All movies are presented in Japanese with the option for english subtitles and are not cut nor edited from the original films as far as I can tell. This is unlike the North American release which edited the first two movies in this series into one film entitled Shogun Assassin. For those looking for the original, non-edited, non-cut version of this series with all films included and intact, then this is the boxset you are looking for. For those of you who may not have even heard of these films; they are the filmed version of a story that has become part of popular culture in Japan. The story of the Lone Wolf and Cub has been adapted into movies, plays, and a television series. The films are the epitomy of a classic Japanese samurai movie - much like what westerns were for Americans. They contain all the violence, action, and depht you would expect from the genre. A great place to start if you are interested.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the classic collections March 26 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
You are robbing yourself if you are a fan of Samurai films and not watching this classic adaptation! It is a great collection of all six movies, on 2 discs. I have watched this so many times now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch. Oct. 11 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
A must see. Smart and forthcoming. Lone wolf truly keeps you thinking from beginning to the end. A large piece of pop culture and modern history. Timeless.
A+++
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  78 reviews
86 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Awesome!!! Sept. 13 2005
By amster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
For pure, unadulterated, visceral entertainment, the "Lone Wolf and Cub" series can't be beat. The acting, directing, the screenplays, and the cinematography are all top notch. The action sequences have to be seen to be believed. Each and every film feature loads of "money shots". Fans of Tarantino will immediately see where he drew much of his inspiration for the "Kill Bill" series. I suspect that these movies were an influence on "Mighty Python and the Holy Grail" as well. Another little known fact is that the manga that this is based upon was also the inspiration for "Road to Perdition".

People with no experience with Japanese cinema will probably find these movies to be very bizarre the first time they see them. They depict a culture whose morals and values are quite different from Western standards. Its not uncommon in these movies for someone to kill, or commit suicide, for reasons not easily comprehended. Examples: in Volume 2, a cult of female ninjas brutally dismember and kill one of their allies, just to prove a point (that they're superior fighters). In volume 6, one thug after another joyfully sacrifice their lives in order to help a princess perfect her killing technique. In volume 3, following a brutal rape and murder, a Samurai attempts to help the criminals cover up their atrocity. His actions are depicted as honorable behavior.

The main character, Ogami Itto, can only be described as an anti-hero. An assassin by trade, he describes himself as evil, a demon, "one who walks along the crossroads of Hell". He will kill anyone for 500 pieces of gold, even women and children. The opening scene in the first film sets the tone of the series, when Ogami, the official executioner of the Shogun, brutally decapitates a toddler. Even so, he is portayed throughout the series as a very sympathetic, honorable character. You will find yourself rooting for him and his son.

I can't say enough good things about these movies. They are so satisfying on every level. You'll get a rush at the over-the-top scenes of violence. You may even begin to question your Westernized notions of morality. Be cautioned though: these movies are not for the squeamish. Volume 1 and 3, in particular, feature very disturbing depictions of rape and murder. Don't say I didn't warn you.
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great films, marred a little by DNR Sept. 25 2012
By Stephen M. Lerch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Lone Wolf and Cub is a series of films from 1970s Japan.

The story goes that Ogami Itto is Second to the Shogunate. He falls from grace due to some backstabbing and plotting. As his wife has been killed, he offers his son the option of joining his mother, or joining him in his path to Hell. His son, a toddler, takes the latter. Ogami becomes an assassin for hire, and as he has his son with him, they are the Lone Wolf and Cub.

You can read more about the movies themselves on the Internet. All you need to know for this review is that there are 6 films in total and you get all six in this set on 2 Blu Ray discs.

Video-

This is... a bit of a mixed bag. The transfer, overall, is very crisp and clean from what I can tell. The issue comes in with what is known as DNR (Digital Noise Reduction). Animeigo has made the decision to tweak the quality levels using DNR and as a result, some of the finer details are lost. Over all it doesn't seem TOO over used, but it IS used and there are occasions when it is noticeable if you know what to look for.

The video is n 1080p HD, of course. And it looks good, but could have been "better," in my opinion, had they left out the DNR or dialed it down a little. In comparison to the DVD, which is obviously SD, there is still a lot of extra quality in the Blu Ray.

Audio-

LPCM. Completely uncompressd audio taken from the source. You won't find a better sounding version of LWC's films.

It also needs to be noted, in case there is confusion, that this is in Japanese language ONLY. There is NO OPTION for spoken English language. There are, of course, English subtitles are obviously provided and, if you so choose, can be turned off. However, the subtitles can ONLY be controlled through the remote - there is no subtitle option for on the menus.

If you want spoken English and don't mind the films being edited together, check out the Shogun Assassin - 5 Film Collector's Edition [Blu-ray] set instead. The edited films are the reason you can't have spoken English with this set.

Menus -

Uhm... what menus? When you put the discs in, you see the Animeigo logo, a disclaimer that if you want subtitles on/off you have to use the remote and then... you're presented with a still shot of Ogami with a menu along the bottom with a choice of which of the 3 films you would like to watch. The option under each film is for chapter selection and an option to look at liner notes about each film.

I guess you don't need menus, really, since the films are what matters.

Packaging-

Kind of lame, but I think this has more to do with the age of the film and lack of more materials.

You have the image on the front, shown on the Amazon page, and a few screen shots on the back. A short description is included as well.

Final thoughts-

These are some of the finest Samurai films ever produced. Animeigo has done a good job with the Blu Ray transfer, though the extra DNR caused me to drop the ranking to 4 stars instead of 5. If you don't care about DNR or won't notice it, then this is a 5 star release.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "500 gold pieces can buy his sword, but nothing can buy his honor." Oct. 29 2007
By trashcanman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Lone Wolf and Cub" is the pinnacle of Asian grindhouse cinema and the most action-packed and downright cool series of samurai films ever made. The violence is brutal, the sex (both forced and consensual) is plentiful, the characters are memorable, and there is a lot of subtle humor and beautiful Japanese culture to be enjoyed as well. I cannot recommend these six films enough.

Beginning as the Shogun's personal executioner, our anti-hero Ogami Itto is framed by the jealous and ambitious Yagyu clan's shadow ops; his wife murdered in the process. In his rage, Itto takes his young son, Daigoro, and declares them to be demons, apart from the world of men to live as assassins for hire. His primary target: the head of the Shadow Yagyus, a decrepit old warrior known as Retsudo. Along the way he encounters hidden ninja and other Yagyu warriors, deadly kunoichi, clan heads in need of his services, friendly villagers, prostitutes, yakuza, Retsudo's skilled offspring, and many more, most of whom will either be diced up by his sword, or by his enemies'. Thankfully, Lone Wolf and Cub are more than ready for whatever comes their way. Ogami Itto pushes his son around in a modified baby cart that is packed full of hidden surprises for anyone who wishes to take his head. And nobody is his equal with a sword. Nobody. Amusingly, Daigoro manages to rack up a little body count of his own and embarks on his own little adventures from time to time too.

The first film "Sword of Vengeance" focuses on Ogami Itto's first clashes with the Shadow Yagyu clan; playing a bloody game of chess as the disgraced samurai embarks upon his demon's journey by outwitting Retsudo and escaping to the open road. "Baby Cart at the River Styx" is my favorite film of the series and features a deadly band of lady shinobi (kunoichi), and a mission which pits Lone Wolf and Cub against a trio of skilled and honorable warriors with brutal weapons who have been hired to protect his target. "Baby Cart to Hades" (best title ever!) has Itto sacrificing his own body to protect a lowly prostitute in need and features one of the greatest action sequences ever filmed as our (anti)hero single-handedly battles an entire force of Yagyu troopers and kills ever last one. Awesome. "Baby Cart in Peril" features a heroic female samurai with tattoos who fights topless (for distraction, see?). In order to retrieve the information vital to his mission in "Baby Cart in the Land of Demons" Lone Wolf and Cub must past the deadly tests put forth by five of the clans retainers who can appear anywhere at any time. Lastly "White Heaven in Hell" pits Ogami Itto and son against a Yagyu clan desperate to finally avenge their shame by ending their lives. Lord Retsudo orders every person who helps or even speaks to them to be put to death. As Itto flees civilization into the frozen mountains, Retsudo sends his supernaturally-powered ninja to stalk him while the remainder of the clan's army is brought up for the end game. All of these films are must-sees for martial-arts and action fans.

The bonus features include many trailers, particularly for Zatoichi films (Shintaro Katsu -who played the legendary blind swordsman- produced the first three films and cast this brother, Tomisaburo Wakayama, as Ogami Itto). Each disc also features extensive and informative notes about Japanese history and culture to help put some of the events in the films in perspective. Good stuff.

If you're looking for unrelenting action, brutal gore, a protagonist who is an unstoppable bada$#, and a story that has coolness around every corner then this is a series you must look into. It's a great place to start if you're looking to get into samurai films and this set belongs in the DVD library of all professing to be fans of the genre. Buy these films and enter the Crossroads to Hell.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Samurai Action Series Nov. 4 2006
By Jimmy Hanzo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan of martial arts films in general, samurais in particular. Part of the problem, for me, in finding samurai films I'd like is the tendency of Japanese filmamkers to include odd humor and action scenes that are too unbelievable. Now, I like unrealistic action fights, I can watch Drunken Master 2 or Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon all day, but sometimes you can take fantasy too far--in the anime version of Samurai Showdown, Haohmaru the samurai defeats a swarm of bees with his sword by chopping them up. A bit too much.

The reason I bring this up is to let anyone who has the same taste as I do in martial arts films (fantasy fighting with some gravity to it) know that they'll enjoy these movies as much as anything they've seen.

First off, the story is just great in each film. You really can't predict the actions and decisions that lead hero, Ogami Itto, will make. He's the perfect samurai character, grim, silent, and ruthlessly efficient. I was a bit leary about Tomisaburo Wakaya, as he's not the vision of the ultimate samurai, but his fine acting and martial arts chops make you forget about his double chin. Upon first seeing him, I wished they had cast an actor who looked mroe like the comicbook Ogami Itto--twenty minutes into a film, I forgot all about the comics.

The action is just incredibly well done. It's not the beautiful, agile swordplay of the Chinese sword films, but it has an elegance to it. Whereas the Chinese like to draw out a fight and have both warriors display every move in their arsenal, the Japanese directors tend to focus on a single, perfect stroke. The fights are fast and furious, with limbs and fountains of blood. For those seeking to avoid blood and guts, you might want to rethink getting this. Just think of the final action scene in the phenomenal Kill Bill Vol. 1, where the bride decimates the Crazy 88. Now imagine that scene with someone who actually knows martial arts, and you'll get the idea.

Anyway, let me just say that these six flicks are MY Star Wars. The ultimate samurai saga, bar none. If only Kenji Masume and Kazuo Koike would ahve made a Musashi film.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu Ray Review Sept. 25 2012
By Zack Davisson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
This "Lone Wolf and Cub Complete Series" release from Animeigo is one of the best arguments for changing over to Blu Ray that I have ever seen. It isn't that it is stuffed full of extra features and funky junk that you will look at once and then never again--it's how all six films in the series have been put on two disks, then packed into a single, slim box.

Seriously, I panicked a little when I got this in the mail. I figured something was wrong, that maybe they had only sent me the first flick instead of the complete series. I couldn't believe it until I popped the disk in my player; This set is actually all six films--with the best quality releases ever seen--packed efficiently into a tiny little package. As someone who is a bit of a film junky, and whose house is overflowing with giant, six film box sets, I really appreciate the space. I want to convert everything I own to little packages like this.

That's the packaging; now how are the films? Obviously, the Lone Wolf and Cub series is a bonafide classic. Adapted from the comic series by Koike Kazuo and Kojima Goseki, "Lone Wolf and Cub" may be one of the first comic-to-film adaptations to really nail it. No surprise since Koike also wrote the screenplays. Produced Katsu Shintaro--flush from his Zatoichi fame--who hired his brother Wakayama Tomisaburo as the assassin Ogami Itto, Some might see a bit of nepotism there; tubby, middle-aged Wakayama is hardly anyone's idea of a dashing action hero. But Wakayama is well known as being one of the best true swordsmen to make a career as an actor. Most actor's just faked it. With Wakayama, you are getting something closer to the real deal.

But that is about where reality ends. Lone Wolf and Cub are what I think of as "Cinematic Samurai." Far from the considered humanism of Kurosawa or the socio-political commentary of Kobayashi, these flicks are full-on over-the-top ultra-violent unapologetic male power fantasies. They eschew any form of realism. Blood doesn't trickle from a wound, it bursts forward like a geyser, and with enough blood to paint a house red. Swords can be thrown like darts and never miss their mark. People don't stand still and fight, they leap and bound with superhuman vigor. And one man can cut down an army, so long as they aren't named characters. These are the kind of flicks that inspired Tarantino and Frank Miller. They are a hell of a lot of fun.

The six films are:

Sword of Vengence - 1972 - Any movie that starts out with the beheading of a 3-year old child is making a statement as to where it stands. If you can't get by that scene, best to just pop the disk out and never watch the series again. The first "Lone Wolf and Cub" flick is a solemn, gloomy affair. Ogami Itto and his child Daigo are on the run for a crime they didn't commit, and wind up with a troop of mountain bandits who want to sport with the father and son before killing them.

Baby Cart at the River Styx - 1972 - The unquestioned best film in the series. Elite squads of female assassins, the three Lords of Death, and--best of all--Daigo gets into the action. When that cherubic little face hits a button on the baby cart and a big spear comes shooting out, you know this series has leapt beyond it's humble beginnings an into something spectacular.

Baby Cart to Hades - 1972 - Ruminations on the Way of the Warrior and a concealed Gatling gun are the memorable moments of the third Lone Wolf and Cub flick. There is a danger of escalation, of films going so over-the-top that they move into parody, but the fine balance is still maintained no matter how wild the action gets.

Baby Cart in Peril - 1972 - Daigo is getting a little too big for his famous baby cart in this film, and decides to head out for some adventures on his own. Meanwhile, Ogami is engaged in a battle with the beautiful--and perpetually topless--female assassin Oyuki. Nice showdown in this film, with no easy win for Ogami.

Baby Cart in the Land of Demons - 1973 - Name aside, the baby cart is mostly gone now as Ogami and Daigo head out on their separate adventures. Ogami proves he is no hero as he takes on the assassination of a young girl fated to succeed the local daimyo.

White Heaven in Hell - 1974 - The last film in the series takes some new twists and turns, including supernatural elements and a final showdown with Ogami's longtime enemy who has pursued him throughout the series. The famous baby cart returns with a vengeance, and Ogami manages to slaughter an entire army. He pulls off 150 on-screen kills in this film, the most of any individual character in a movie.
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