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Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx
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by Brian McKay

"Ogami Itto vs. The Hidari Brothers: Skull-splitting Samurai Smackdown!"
5 stars

The assassin Ogami Itto (Wakyama Tomisaburo) and his shortie, Daigoro, are back. As usual, the player-hatin' Yagyu Ninja Clan be all up in his shit. But the ones really standing in the way of him and his bidness are the Hidari Brothers - a trio of the Shogun's official bodyguards who have earned the nicknames "The Gods of Death".

While the Lone Wolf and Cub are traveling the highways of Japan and subsisting off of the usual assassination gig, those Yagyu punks are scheming. Since Ogami has proved that his pimp hand is strong by cutting down all of their men that he's come up against so far, they decide to try a more sneaky approach. Using a clan of female assassins disguised as peasant women, they set up an ambush for Ogami and Son on the open road, in conjuction with a second wave of Yagyu men. In order to prove the abilities of her female assassins, the clan leader gives one of the Yagyu's best fighters a simple challenge - escape the room and make it to the garden outside. The fool would have lived longer if he'd just sat still, because as soon as he gets to steppin', those crazy bitches draw their pigstickers and proceed to carve the poor bastard up like Thanksgiving turkey, starting with the ears and nose. Yo, save me a thigh!

Meanwhile, Ogami takes on a job to kill a wealthy merchant who is fleeing from the Awa clan with trade secrets. Turns out the Awa clan has been making mad bling off of their textiles industry, and not paying taxes on most of it. If the defector reaches the Shogunate and spills all he knows, the wrath of the Shogun will be upon them, and they stand to lose hudreds of thousands of Koku (a monetary unit equivalent to five bushels of rice). The merchant is to be escorted back to Edo, the Shogun's seat of power, by a retinue of bodyguards -including the Shogun's best men, the Hidari Brothers. Nicknamed "The Gods of Death," they wield a spiked club, studded guantlets, and a Wolverine/Freddy Kruger razor claw. When some punk-asses later try to take the Hidari out, the brothers three proceed to tear some shit up. The results are not pretty.

LW&C are tooling along the road with the baby cart, minding their own bidness, when all of the sudden these crazy bitches with big knives are coming out of the woodwork from every direction. In a whirlwind of steel, Ogami quickly makes the point that you should never send a woman to do a Terminator's job. Only one of the Ninja girls manages to evade his sword and escape, though he hasn't seen the last of her.

Leaving a slew of dead ninja bitches and Yagyu lackies in his wake, Ogami Itto first encounters the Hidari Brothers aboard a ship, on their way to meet up with the fleeing merchant and his retinue. Naturally, when the brothers lay eyes upon him, they immediately get that "this dude is one bad motherfucker" look of recognition on their faces. They don't throw down yet, but rather test each other with veiled comments and an amusing little knife-throwing incident. When they part ways, the brothers warn Ogami with something along the lines of "We will be taking the high road through the valley that leads to the sand dunes that cross to the harbor where will will board the vessel to Edo. Do not interfere with us." Yeah, right! Hey, thanks for the directions to the beatdown, Chuck. Be kicking your ass real soon!

While the gore and spurting blood is admittedly quite cheesy, the action is excellent and nearly non-stop. Itto whirls the Katana and Naginata as nimbly as a marching band baton girl. Watch the way he counters, slashes, and thrusts, before twirling the sword about and effortlessly re-sheathing it. Frequent use of the rewind and slow-mo buttons is guaranteed - the dude's moves are just that good.

Carnage and Carnality

-Basket hat chopping and skull perforation with midair impalement
-whacked-out ninja chicks turn Yagyu thug into a beef log
-lethal beet tossing!
-Tricksy ninja bitches get sliced, diced, and skewered
-Yagyu punks get de-calfinated by stiletto axel blades.
-double-barrelled spear chucking
-eye gouging with Freddy Kruger claw
-dagger re-sheathing at twenty paces
-Naginata pole vaulting
-Ninja chick stripped of wet clothes and forced to huddle "for warmth". Given a purple nurple by Daigoro when she tries to pull a blade on the old man.
-sand dune slaughterhouse
-clamshell skull splitting with dancing blood fountain
-rambling death soliloquy with air compressor-assisted arterial spray

While not quite the pinnacle of the series (that comes in movie number three), BABY CART AT THE RIVER STYX is an unabashed orgy of action. The only thing that drags it down is having to watch it on VHS. Where the hell is the remastered DVD box set?

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originally posted: 01/06/03 10:24:48
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User Comments

2/08/12 Trey Easily the most action packed of the series, a symphony of violence 5 stars
3/03/11 chris c A ballet of rich samurai sword fights and violence 5 stars
12/22/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Great over the top martial arts action and a gripping plot! A must! 5 stars
2/04/09 Mr A A classic martial arts movie... 5 stars
12/24/06 fumanchoo Classic! All of the over-the-top violence will have you laughing out loud! Brutal. 5 stars
4/15/04 Mr Snowblood Vengence very cool! 5 stars
2/17/04 Sukhraj Jhaj sublime orgy of violence 5 stars
1/13/03 Stevo bit with the guys getting chjopped off at teh knees by babycart wheelknives is classic 4 stars
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  02-Jun-1972 (NR)



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