Martial Arts

Kazuo Ikehiro – Zatôichi Abare Tako AKA Zatoichi’s Flashing Sword (1964)

Synopsis:
Blind masseur Zatoichi is nursed back to health by a young woman after he is shot by a gang member. Zatoichi, who had come to the village to repay a debt, now feels further indebted. He commits himself to use his amazing sword skills to help the young woman’s father, whose river-crossing service is under attack by the same gang responsible for Zatoichi’s wounds. Read More »

Kimiyoshi Yasuda – Zatôichi Kenka-tabi AKA Zatoichi on the Road (1963)

Synopsis:
Blind swordsman/masseuer Ichi (or “Zatoichi”) is asked by a dying man to deliver the maiden Mitsu (or “Omitsu”) to her family in Edo, and Zatoichi feels honor-bound to do so. But rival gangs each have an interest in kidnapping the girl for ransom. Zatoichi joins with one of the gangs when the other gang captures Mitsu, but he then finds that to rescue her, he must fight both gangs. Read More »

Yoshiyuki Kuroda – Kozure Ôkami: Jigoku e ikuzo! Daigoro AKA Lone Wolf and Cub 6 – White Heaven in Hell (1974)

Synopsis:
Based on the best-selling manga series, the six intensely kinetic Lone Wolf and Cub films elevated chanbara to bloody new heights. The shogun’s executioner, Itto Ogami (Tomisaburo Wakayama), takes to wandering the countryside as an assassin—along with his infant son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) and a seemingly infinitely weaponized perambulator—helping those he encounters while seeking vengeance for his murdered wife. Delivering stylish thrills and a body count that defies belief, Lone Wolf and Cub is beloved for its brilliantly choreographed action sequences as well as its tender depiction of the bonds between a parent and a child. Read More »

Kenji Misumi – Kozure Ôkami: Meifumadô AKA Lone Wolf and Cub 5 – Baby in the Land of Demons (1973)

Synopsis:
Based on the best-selling manga series, the six intensely kinetic Lone Wolf and Cub films elevated chanbara to bloody new heights. The shogun’s executioner, Itto Ogami (Tomisaburo Wakayama), takes to wandering the countryside as an assassin—along with his infant son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) and a seemingly infinitely weaponized perambulator—helping those he encounters while seeking vengeance for his murdered wife. Delivering stylish thrills and a body count that defies belief, Lone Wolf and Cub is beloved for its brilliantly choreographed action sequences as well as its tender depiction of the bonds between a parent and a child. Read More »

Buichi Saitô – Kozure Ôkami: Oya no kokoro ko no kokoro AKA Lone Wolf and Cub IV: Baby Cart in Peril (1972)

Synopsis:
Based on the best-selling manga series, the six intensely kinetic Lone Wolf and Cub films elevated chanbara to bloody new heights. The shogun’s executioner, Itto Ogami (Tomisaburo Wakayama), takes to wandering the countryside as an assassin—along with his infant son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) and a seemingly infinitely weaponized perambulator—helping those he encounters while seeking vengeance for his murdered wife. Delivering stylish thrills and a body count that defies belief, Lone Wolf and Cub is beloved for its brilliantly choreographed action sequences as well as its tender depiction of the bonds between a parent and a child. Read More »

Kenji Misumi – Kozure Ôkami: Shinikazeni mukau ubaguruma AKA Lone Wolf and Cub III: Baby Cart to Hades (1972)

Synopsis:
Based on the best-selling manga series, the six intensely kinetic Lone Wolf and Cub films elevated chanbara to bloody new heights. The shogun’s executioner, Itto Ogami (Tomisaburo Wakayama), takes to wandering the countryside as an assassin—along with his infant son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) and a seemingly infinitely weaponized perambulator—helping those he encounters while seeking vengeance for his murdered wife. Delivering stylish thrills and a body count that defies belief, Lone Wolf and Cub is beloved for its brilliantly choreographed action sequences as well as its tender depiction of the bonds between a parent and a child. Read More »

Wei Lo – Duan hun gu AKA Death Valley (1968)

Synopsis:
Lo Wei was twenty years into his notable career when he wrote, directed, and co-starred in this tale of a murdered lord, a hired killer who unknowingly becomes friends with his intended victim, a vicious bandit chief, a kind blind woman, and a death duel which explodes into an ambush and then a slaughter. Star Yueh Hua would go on to an exceptional acting career, while Lo himself would give both Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan their “big breaks.” Read More »