Another worthy entry into the series with requisite gory fight scenes and heightened sensuality, this time shot by the legendary Kazuo Miyagawa.
Dir. Buichi Saito
1972 | Japan | Action/Adventure | 81 mins | 2.40:1 | Japanese
Not rated (likely to be at least M18 for some nudity, strong violence and gore)
Cast: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Yoichi Hayashi, Michi Azuma
Plot: Ogami is hired to kill a tattooed female assassin. Gunbei Yagyu, an enemy samurai, happens upon Ogami’s son, and sees his chance for revenge.
Subject Matter: Slightly Mature/Violent
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Audience Type: Niche Mainstream/Cult
(Reviewed on Criterion Blu-ray)
The only ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ movie to be shot by the legendary Kazuo Miyagawa (of Rashomon (1950) and Ugetsu (1953) fame), Baby Cart in Peril is another worthy entry into the series. In this fourth instalment, Ogami continues to abide by the ‘Demon Way’ as he fends off his enemies with requisite brutality.
Sliced limbs with gory blood spurts by now have become a new normal for his young toddler, who has his fair share of close shaves in a maturing role, notably a harrowing scene with a surging fire.
Apart from having a new director at the helm in Buichi Saito (Kenji Misumi would return in the next episode), this film is much more sensual than what has come before. For the most part eschewing raw and primal depictions of sexuality, Baby Cart in Peril focuses on the visual pleasures of the flesh instead—in this case embodied here by a female assassin with tattoos.
In fact, in the opening scene itself, we see her fend off a group of sword-wielding men while baring her breasts. But the film is not just all flesh and blood, there is an affectionate narrative thread involving another father and his child, and much like Ogami’s love for his son, the human capacity to show respect and dignity is what drives one forward, whether it is the Demon Way or not.