Originating in a manga by writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima, the LONE WOLF & CUB series is one of the definitive Japanese genre creations. When the Shogun’s assassin Ogami Ittō is betrayed by his own clan, he and his only surviving relative, his one year old son, hit the road to revenge. The great success of the films ensured that it was a long road indeed. Here we present the entire original series, which captures many different variations in tone and attitude, but always remains satisfyingly action-packed and bloody.
SWORD OF VENGEANCE
June 2, 4pm
The inaugural film in the LONE WOLF & CUB series immediately thrust Itto Ogami into the ranks of the all-time great samurai movie icons. In this installm...ent, the Shadow Yagyu clan plots to solidify its power by taking Ogami’s coveted position of shogun’s executioner for its own. The legendary assassin escapes with his infant son, Daigoro, and swears vengeance. (Janus Films)
BABY CART AT THE RIVER STYX
June 6, 7pm
This exploitation-cinema classic, second in the LONE WOLF & CUB series, takes the action and graphic violence of the first film to delirious new heights, Itto Ogami and his young son Daigoro continue their quest for vengeance through meifumado, the spiritual way of “demons and damnation,” pursued constantly by the Shadow Yagyu clan and the shogun’s spies.
BABY CART TO HADES
June 9, 4pm
Unfolding in an idyllic countryside that contrasts sharply with the violence that occurs within it, the third LONE WOLF & CUB film follows Itto Ogami and his son Daigoro as they continue their journey and stumble upon a crime scene involving a group of lowlife swordsmen from the watari-kashi class.
BABY CART IN PERIL
June 16, 4pm
In this distinctly lowbrow entry in the LONE WOLF & CUB series, Samurai Itto Ogami is hired by the Owari clan to assassinate a tattooed woman who is killing her enemies and cutting off their topknots. Meanwhile, his young son Daigoro is separated from his father when he follows a pair of traveling street performers outside of town. (Janus Films)
BABY CART IN THE LAND OF DEMONS
June 23, 4pm
Balancing physical action with Buddhist musings on life and death, the most spiritual of the LONE WOLF & CUB films finds Samurai Itto Ogami’s combat skills put to the test by five different warrior-messengers. (Janus Films)
WHITE HEAVEN IN HELL
June 30, 4pm
For the final LONE WOLF & CUB film, star Tomisaburo Wakayama decided to make the sort of wild movie he’d always wanted to: one in which the Samurai Lone Wolf battles zombies and his son Daigoro’s baby cart zips improbably across an icy landscape on skis. (Janus Films)
— Directed by Various
— Tickets: austinfilm.org/series/the-complete-lone-wolf-cub