Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Shogun Assassin (1980)

Director: Robert Houston

Starring: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Samurai & Ninjas

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: it's impossible to keep a body count!

Plot: Shogun decapitator, lone wolf, ronin. Travels with his son, Daigoro, in search of the Shogun that is paranoid of his skills. In the attempts to kill Lone Wolf, Shogun's ninja kills his wife and leaves him to care for the boy. Lone Wolf swears that Shogun will pay for his deeds. Revenge and justice drive Lone Wolf through Japan's forests and deserts in search of vengeance.

My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? No, because I'd much rather see any of the LONE WOLF AND CUB films this is compiled from instead.

#55 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 2: The Deuce (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

This film has a cult following. I've heard about it for years and I finally got around to seeing it. Now, I loves me some martial arts films, ninja films, Japanese samurai films and such. There are 25 or so films in the Zatoichi blind swordsman series and I've seen a few. They're all very good. And I've seen quite a few other Japanese samurai pictures and they were also very enjoyable.

From what I understand, SA came about when an American producer decided to take two films (from the film series of LONE WOLF AND CUB from the early 70s) and put them together to make a more action-filled movie with a new English dubbing. It sounds like a disaster. It isn't but then it's not exactly a home run either. The result is action-filled (and I'd say a little too much) but it also has a few "what the hell is going on?" and "now WHO are these guys?" moments that arise because of the combining of two seperate story lines.

Surprisingly the English dubbing is good. The music's OK but, knowing this film is the combination of two other fims, I couldn't help but think, as I watched it, that I'd probably enjoy each of the two films in their original language much better. I haven't seen either of them yet but I expect it will happen sooner than later and for that reason I'm not going to comment much on this film because what's good about it, I suspect, probably plays out much better in the orginal films.

"Zee plane, Boss! Zee plane!"

I will say this, though. If you're not familiar with the samurai genre then this would be a good starting point. You can do a helluva lot worse. I would only hope that, upon seeing it, it will whet your appetite for more of the genre and seek out any of the ZATOICHI series or any Akira Kurosawa samurai film and see what great action and great drama can do side-by-side.

No comments:

Post a Comment