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4.5 out of 5 stars56
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on 17 July 2004
This surely ranks as one of the greatest genre pictures of all time.
I could watch it time and time again- and I'm about to buy as many of these in the series as I can.
Basically it's an American rip off of bits from the first 2-3 Japanese 'Lone Wolf and Cub' epics. As such it's very disjointed, tacky, badly dubbed with bizarre electronic music (a bit like an early John Carpenter film).
But it's an absolute gem.
The moody lighting and weird melodramatic characters, odd camerawork and general low budget effects all add to an experience that will stay with you.
Be warned though, there's no ending as such- more like a 'to be continued' situation.
From it's voice-over beginnings to freeze frame end it's full of one lines- ludicrous and insane.
This is a masterpiece- I can't wait for the originals to come through my door.
p.s It's a shame but there aren't any special bonus features on the DVD. Never mind- maybe they'll do a boxed set!
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on 18 April 2010
In feudal Japan a great samurai warrior called Lone Wolf (Tomisaburo Wakayama) embarks upon a trail of vengeance with his infant son (who narrates the film) after his wife is brutally murdered by men sent by the evil, tyrannical Shogun. Fearing Lone Wolf, The Shogun sends out hordes of ninja assassins to kill him and his son but Lone Wolf disposes of them with the aid of his mighty sword and his son's wooden cart loaded with secret weapons, leaving behind him rivers of blood and piles of butchered corpses.

Like a hired gunfighter in a western movie, Lone Wolf offers his services to anyone with enough gold to cover his assassin's fee and he accepts a contract from a group of rebels who want him to kill The Shogun's brother. This is a dangerous road to go down, where anyone could be a ninja in disguise, and The Shogun's brother is protected by the notorious Masters of Death - three brothers, each armed with different weapons and deadly fighting skills, who have killed many men.

"Shogun Assassin" is a 1980 Japanese/American co-production that is actually bits of two other films seamlessly edited together and re-dubbed in English to make one new film. The two films that make up "Shogun Assassin" are "Sword Of Vengeance" and "Baby Cart At The River Styx" from the stylish but extremely violent "Lone Wolf And Cub" series of films made in Japan in the 1970s.

Everything about this film is amazing, especially the photography, the editing, the music and the stunningly-choreographed action scenes. Try to imagine an Akira Kurosawa samurai film crossed with a Herschell Gordon Lewis splatter-fest, with some scenes shot in the style of a spaghetti western, and you have some indication of what "Shogun Assassin" is like. During the fight scenes, blood gushes and splatters across the screen in an artistic way that Jackson Pollock might have been proud of. If there is such a thing as "beautiful violence" in cinema then "Shogun Assassin" has shedloads of it. The climax where Lone Wolf has to face and defeat The Masters of Death (shades of Alejandro Jodorowsky's "El Topo", perhaps?) is one of the all-time great showdowns in cinema history. "Shogun Assassin" influenced Quentin Tarantino for his "Kill Bill" movies and it's the film that Beatrix Kiddo, a.k.a. The Bride (Uma Thurman), watches on tv with her daughter at Bill's house in "Kill Bill Vol. 2".

There have been various incarnations of "Shogun Assassin" released on video and DVD ( it was banned in the UK in the early-1980s after making its way onto the DPP's infamous "video nasties" list) and this version from the Danish label "Another World Entertainment" presents the film remastered and uncut in a wide screen ratio of 2.35:1. The film is in English language with the option of Danish, Swedish, Finnish or Norwegian subtitles. Extras include a trailer, a trailershow for other AWE titles and a slideshow.
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on 4 October 2002
You can't really do this film justice in a couple of paragraphs of online review - it is simply one of the best Martial Arts movies I've ever seen.
Magnificent technique, hilarious bloodletting, and some of the best comedy dubbing around. The plot is awesome, the characters are great and the fight scenes are just breathtaking.
The lead character, Lone Wolf, is just ultra, ultra hard and dispatches his foes with superb skill and focused violence. The bad guys are just brilliant - three hard dude in straw hats with deep voices.
There is a rather large slice of unintended comedy in this film (think Monty Python Black Knight fight scene), but it just adds to Lone Wolf's hardness and make sit more fun to watch.
As I said, words fail this movie, but if I had to sum it up in three words I'd say, "Buy it today".
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on 26 July 2007
As many previous reviews state, the film "Shogun Assassin" is a compilation of the first two movies from the Japanese "Lone Wolf & Cub" series from the early 70's, dubbed into English, given a electro-pop theme tune, and released in the 80's, promptly being banned as a video nasty, due to excessive violence.

Now, with the release of a re-mastered Region 1 and Region 4 discs, of this film, and the original series now re-mastered as well, the films get a new lease of life.

However, which version? Do you buy the single disc "Shogun Assassin", or the six discs in the "Lone Wolf & Cub" set?

If you want no plot what so ever, but want wall-to-wall sword fights, very red blood squirting everywhere, English dialogue, and lots of meaningful stares into camera - then this is the one for you.

If you want more story, in the original Japanese, with subtitles, but with the same level of violence - stick to the original six movies.

But do not, do not, buy both, as I did; I sat there realising that scenes in "Shogun Assassin" were a different order, characters were given different roles, edited and re-dubbed for story, and I found it very, very frustrating.

"Choose the ball - you will spend eternity with your Mother, choose the sword - with me you will walk the path of vengeance......."
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on 28 November 2001
As a film purist I usually prefer to see films as they were originally meant to be seen but in this case I just can't help but love SHOGUN ASSASSIN!! The movie consists of the best bits from the first two (or three) Lone Wolf and Cub movies from Japan with classic dubbing and a GREAT synthesised soundtrack that adds a lot of atmosphere to the proceedings. I've seen a couple of the original Lone Wolf films and they are good but not as much fun as this.... wonderful cinematography, top notch action, loads of quotable dialogue, hosepipes of gore and great soundtrack adds up to an all round classic movie --- I haven't seen the DVD yet so can't comment on the quality of the print etc... +++ "He is the son of a Mad Wolf!!"
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on 5 October 2000
The above title is a quotation from the box and indeed it is. Edited together from six different films, this is essential veiwing and is a classic dismemberment movie. The dubbing is excellent. A samari is disgraced when his wife is raped and killed by the Shogun, so along with his boy who he takes in a cart, he sets out to get revenge. That is all there is to the plot - the rest is just fighting and gore. For people to spurt blood like they do in this film they would have to have hose pipes for veins! It really is chop-socky fun, the gore is only as bad as comic strip voilence (from which the film was based) and it is deeply entertaining. The climax, although detialing a massacre, ends strangly because they just walk off into the sunset, almost as if it stopped halfway through the story. This is because the filmmakers couldn't edit all six films into one hour and a half film. However, this is a recommended buy and the DVD is of good quality. Support Vipco and buy this now!
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on 21 January 2006
Ive never really been into Martial Arts or Ninja films (and the only reson i watched this is because it is in the Vipcos Vaults of Horror Collection) but i was shocked by how good this actually was! The acting isnt amazing and the dubbing is amazingly bad (as with most Vipco' films), even the quality of the picture is bad yet it is still a great film! (i usually dont mind any of these things but in most Vipco' films, even if their really good' you cant help but notice the the aweful acting or a big piece of dust on the screen).
There is lots of violence and some very gory scenes in this film which is one of the main reasons why i like this film so much, you can see that a lot of the scenes from Kill Bill have been taken from Shogun Assassin (Uma Thurmans daughter watches Shogun Assassin in Kill Bill vol-2). This film is one only of a few films that have been previously banned films for violence alone!
(And has been banned since 1983)
The film features a good and very simple story of an 'invincible' ninja called Lone Wolf whos wife is killed by the Shoguns ninjas, he then massacres the Shoguns brothers, son and hundreds of ninjas! He takes his son with him and pushes him around in a rikety old pram which has many knives and swords that can be pulled off it! Its Lone Wolfs son who narrates the film and gives his father a hand by killing a couple of people for him with his 'tank-pram'. (While he is in his pram he is surrounded by many buttons and levers which push out swords from the prams wheels and launches knives out of the bamboo rods which form it!)
Almost all the of the film is pure action and blood so youll never get bored or find yourself skiping to a more interesting bit! Therse one part where Lone Wolf is just walking down a long path and he is constantly attacked by women about every 5 seconds along his way! And the 3 Masters of Death are killing people in every scene their in!
The Masters of Death themselves are some of the best characters that have been in a movie! One carrys a spined club, one wields a claw and the last has 'nailed-fists', and not only do they kill lots of people in grusome ways, they themselves are also killed in nasty ways too, one has his head slit open, one has his throat cut (therse more blood youd expect from a simple and small slice acress the neck) and the last one has a sword thrown at him!
The music in Shogun Assassin is very out-dated and quiet repetetive yet i loved it and it really got me tapping my feet! And the scenes really match the scenes it goes with! (different fights usually)
Conclusion: If youve got a strong stomache then buy this DVD immedietly, if you dont like films that have bad acting, dubbing and picture quality then avoid at all costs! (i didnt mention anything about the extras as there isnt any eccept a trailer and a picture gallery, the avarage Vipco' package)
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on 14 December 2004
Shogun Assassin set the stakes when it came to 1970s samurai flicks. Not only did it raise the standards of action cinema generally, it proved to movie-goers that there was still something left in the partly dieing samurai genre. Although compared to today's standards, this movie looks nothing matched to the likes of "Kill Bill", but it's from this movie that Kill Bill got lots of its inspiration. Director of Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino calls it "A legendary in post-modern cinema." I agree with him completely. It may not have the best script, acting or plotlone, but it sure goes down in history for being a trend-setting gorefest with a heck of a lot of class.
Sadly, the DVD is extremely poor. It's depressing to see such a masterful piece of cinema slumped quickly onto a disc. The quality of the picture is terrible and the picture ratio is so thin you can't be anymore than a few yards away to see what's going on in the film. There are no extras at all, except a pointless picture gallery. Hopefully Shogun Assassin will be re-released one day with it's former quality restored, but for now, this is a terrible copy, even for such a low price.
Overall, I award this Shogun Assassin DVD, 3/5. It's a shame about the DVD, which is the reason for it's "average" score. However, the film is excellent and I recommend you purchase this cheap masterpiece, dispite it's lack of quality.
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on 8 August 2012
Great movie if you are into your martial art films. I can not believe how cheap this dvd is as the original video cost £20 when I first got hold of it. This is an outstanding classic martal arts movie and one that should be in very ones colection.
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on 27 April 2012
No other martial arts film in history has ever been released so many times over the years on so many different formats than Shogun Assassin!! As any true martial arts fan knows this is the most classic samurai film in history, a fantastic classic tale of revenge, the story is great, the cast is awesome and the action scenes are violent and bloody as he leaves piles of bodies in his path of destruction and not forgetting the iconic music score. This is truly a masterpiece of cinema history and this is the definitive version of the movie with awesome packaging and features in hi-def too!! Dont miss out on one of the most talked about films ever made! A must own for any fan, put it on your gift list!!!
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