Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974)

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8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Still bloody, still great

No real conclusion to the story

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lone Wolf and Cub:  White Heaven in Hell

Studio:  Toho

Genre(s):  Martial Arts/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  April 24, 1974

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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Going down in a hail of gunfire!

The end is here!  Ogami Ittō (Tomisaburo Wakayama) and his son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) are officially being hunted by the Yagyū clan when Yagyū Retsudo (Minoru Ohki) is ordered to bring him in.  Now, anyone who comes in contact with Ittō and Daigoro will die…and the innocent blood on Ittō’s hands is growing.  With the stakes higher than ever, Ittō and Daigoro must face the man who ordered the killing of Ittō’s wife and end the danger once and for all.

Directed by Yoshiyuki Kuroda, Lone Wolf and Cub:  White Heaven in Hell (子連れ狼 地獄へ行くぞ!大五郎 or Kozure Ōkami: Jigoku e ikuzo! Daigoro which translates to Let’s Go to Hell Daigoro!) is a samurai action film produced by Toho.  Following Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart in the Land of Demons from 1973, the film is the sixth and final entry in the series based on Kazuo Koike’s classic manga that ran from September 1970 to April 1976.  The film was released in the United States as Shogun Assassin 5:  Cold Road to Hell.

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You’re the best daughter!

Lone Wolf and Cub was a great series…unfortunately it had to end.  The problem with ending the series is that Lone Wolf and Cub the manga was still going on, so there was no conclusion to the tale.  This leads to a problem for the filmmakers…leaving the film with an open ending and hopes of a sequel (which never happened).

This entry essentially has Ittō paying for his crimes and a final showdown the man behind his framing.  The story is rather simple (they do dilute it by having Yagyū Retsudo dealing with his bastard children), and it isn’t the best of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, but it also isn’t the worst.  The problem with the movie is that the stakes are getting higher and higher each movie and there isn’t enough pay out with the snowfight (which was good but not as good as the army fight in Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart to Hades).  Unfortunately, due to the way the movies were made there is little story arc for either Ittō or Daigoro.

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Yep…just counting how many graves you’ll need

Tomisaburo Wakayama and Akihiro Tomikawa were a strong pairing.  This movie does a bit too much of Akihiro Tomikawa’s facial reactions, but when you have a young child as a star, you have to work with what you have.  I do really like the chemistry between the characters and the idea that Ittō would set Daigoro on his shoulders to psych-out an assassin that targets heads is sick and twisted…but awesome!

The visuals continue to work in this series.  The ending battle might not be as exciting as some of the other battles, but I do admire the skiing scene which feels right out of a James Bond film.  The death toll in this movie allegedly sets Ittō as one of the most onscreen kills attributed to one character…just for the film!  (I’m guessing if you add all his kills up, he’d be one of the biggest killers in film).

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Ouch…I’m going to need a bandage

Lone Wolf and Cub was a great series of films from a fun time in movies.  My only regret about this series is that there is no ending.  The gritty, low budget nature of the film still manages to feel big and clean transfers look great.  I don’t feel that these films get enough attention and hope that fans of movies like Kill Bill (which has the character watch one of the American versions) gets more people looking for extreme cinema from the time period…I’m sure in the world of remakes and little ideas that a toned down version of Lone Wolf and Cub will hit the big screens again.

Related Links:

Lone Wolf and Cub:  Sword of Vengeance (1972)

Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972)

Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart to Hades (1972)

Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart in Peril (1972)

Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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