Rating (4 out of 5)
After having just reviewed The Predator and being disappointed, it was nice to find someone who did a sequel correctly. Now it is hard to say it is a sequel, since it was issued in the same year. Is that really any different that some of our current sequels.
If you liked the first Lone Wolf and Cub, you will like this one.
Plot: Continuing from the first movie, Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance – A Classic Samurai Film, Ogami and his son Diagoro are traveling Japan taking on assassin jobs. He is contracted to kill a master tradesman who carries with him a secret that will bring the Shogunate more riches, and weaken another clan. While he is on his mission, he is hunted by assassins.
What I Liked: We continue with the blood squirting and killing that existed in the first movie. It wasn’t way over the top like we see in sequels now, the director simply added a little something different here and there. A sword stuck in the skull, or claws killing people hiding under ground. If you like that, it is a lot of fun.
Now if you like story, there is that as well. Ogami is being pursued by woman assassins. The woman who is pursuing him, has a great martial arts laugh. So classic. But the relationship Ogami develops with the women in the stories is really interesting, and different for any movie, Japanese or American.
His little son Diagoro plays a slightly bigger role in this film. The baby cart is cool. I don’t want to share what it does as it spoil the surprise, but again pure fun. Also, Ogami does get injured and needs to recuperate. Diagoro must figure out how to bring him water and food. This was a different insight into his sons journey and builds off of his choice in the first movie.
So the final great battle is with the Gods of Death, three master killers. When I first saw these characters all I could think was that John Carpenter stole them for Big Trouble and Little China. The final battle lived up to their appearance. Such fun.
What I Didn’t Like: There is one scene where Ogami is battling and winning against the female master assassin. As he is about to win, she sheds her dress and is wearing some black leotard outfit. Then she bounces away. It is hard to describe, but it was weird. It was something out of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, and didn’t fit with the rest of the film.
Conclusion: Continued fun while not being over the top. So excited to watch the next one. Paced a bit better than the first movie, since we don’t have to the whole background story to include.
Note: There is an underlying theme of greed in the first two movies. While it is not overtly pushed on the viewer, it exists in lots of little ways. When he checks in at the hotel and even his assassination assignment, all matters of money are raised. All of it hinges around greed and money. Some of the scenes involving the woman and Diagoro are meant to show the opposite of this greed, I think. Honor and innocence.
The relationship between men and women come up quite a bit. There is a lot of raping happening within the movie. The women that he and his son meet have end up with an admiration for him in the end, because the woman can see the good in him even though he follows the Demon Way.
I am curious to see how both themes develop over the next couple of movies.