Shogun Assassin is a favorite 80s guilty pleasure that was actually edited together from the first two films of a classic Japanese movie series called Lone Wolf And Cub. The film was then dubbed in English and given a new synthesizer score and released by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. The flick tells of a master samurai (Tomisaburo Wakayama) who is betrayed by his crazed Shogun and marked for death. During an assassination attempt, his wife is killed and now he travels the Japanese countryside with his toddler son, Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa), working as a sword for hire and constantly battling the Shogun’s sons and scores of ninja sent to kill him.

Shogun Assassin is a deliriously fun and blood soaked roller coaster ride that is about 10% plot and 90% fight scenes as Lone Wolf continuously is set upon by the Shogun’s killers and their subsequent and gruesome dispatching by his sword. Especially amusing are a squad of sexy female ninja, Lone Wolf’s showdown with the Three Brothers Of Death and the fact that Daigoro’s baby carriage has more weapons then James Bond’s Astin Martin. The action is fast and furious and filled with spurting blood and flying limbs and is a real blast. It’s now considered one of the greatest exploitation films of all time and it is a title this wildly entertaining sword and samurai flick rightfully deserves. A real blast I was fortunate enough to see at the legendary Oritani Theater in Hackensack, N.J. with a rambunctious audience back in 1980.

A solid 4 (out of 4) swords for giddy, gory exploitation entertainment.

swords rating