Monday, July 13, 2020

Lone Wolf And Cub: Sword Of Vengeance

One of the most stylistic films I've seen from Japan.

Certainly not as visually exuberant as House, but Lone Wolf And Cub has it's own style which is set pretty much from the first shot. The story follows a samurai executioner who is framed for attempting to murder a high ranking official leading him to travel abroad with his young son seeking to clear his name and put his talents to use. Lesson of the day kiddos, if you're good at something never do it for free. I actually got so invested into this movie that when the movie ended I was taken off guard, it's not even 90 minutes and it went by in a flash. Needless to say I've seen this story element before. Hmmm, where have I seen a deadly and skilled warrior travel with a child, pram and all, in tow? Ah well, I'm sure I'll see it online somewhere. I got to say though, of all the movies I've seen from the land of the rising sun this is actually the most graphic. You see arterial spray like it's nobody's business, I've gotten so use to just black and white, quick slashes, nary a drop of blood that this shocked me a tiny bit. And it warrants that R rating with a bit of nudity, sexual and non-sexual so that was another first for me. Lord knows I wouldn't mind reviewing all 6 of these movies but we got a lot more to talk about for the week. The visuals and even the audio choices is what really stuck with me after the movie ended, there's handheld action scenes, quick cuts and zooms, beautiful wide shots, but then there's interesting audio choices where in certain action moments there is zero sound except for the slashing of the sword, and there's multiple instances where an element of water whether it be rain or a stream is muted. It kind of gives a silent film treatment from time to time, and it makes me incredibly curious to see if these elements are mainstays of the series or evolve to be even more engaging. It's a very interesting watch and no doubt people take away very different aspects when they first see it. Hell you could probably get a menagerie of different thoughts and reactions to the flashback scenes and the significance of where they are placed in the film. It's mighty good, and actually proves a point that even in niche genres like samurai cinema there's still avenues for each individual. You want epic storytelling and visuals, watch Ran. You want bloody action and a bit more hardcore edge to it, watch Lone Wolf And Cub. You want classic examples that influenced an entire genre, watch Yojimbo. It has something for everyone and believe me when I say, not every genre accomplishes that. It's a worthy corner of film to watch and enjoy. I give this movie 4 stars, a solid 8/10, and I'll be back tomorrow with a film that created one of the earliest examples of a large film franchise.

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