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

lone wolf and cub baby cart at the river styx poster 1972 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great, fun samurai film

Not much substance to the story but still fun

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart at the River Styx

Studio:  Katsu Production/Toho Company

Genre(s):  Martial Arts/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  April 22, 1972 (Japan)/August 17, 1972 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Unrated

lone wolf and cub baby cart at the river styx shadow yagyu desert ogami itto tomisaburo wakayama

You ready to rumble?!?!?!

Ogami Ittō (Tomisaburo Wakayama) and his son Ogami Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) are continuing their path to Hell as they work as assassins after the murder of Ittō’s wife at the hands of the Shadow Yagyū.   Ittō is hired to stop a trio of assassins called the Hidari brothers who are transporting a man threating to expose a clan’s secret to indigo dye manufacturing.  Unfortunately, the Shadow Yagyū have sent their own assassins after Ittō and his son in the form of a clan of female assassins called the Akari Yagyū and their leader Yagyu Sayaka (Kayo Matsuo).  Can Ittō and Daigoro survive the encounter?

lone wolf and cub baby cart at the river styx daigoro budha statue

Hey…do mind if we kill and murder?

Directed by Kenji Misumi, Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart at the River Styx (子連れ狼 三途の川の乳母車 or Kozure Ōkami: Sanzu no kawa no ubaguruma aka Wolf with Child in Tow:  Perambulator of the River of Sanzui) is a Japanese samurai or chambara film.  It is the second film in the Lone Wolf and Cub film series and a follow-up to Lone Wolf and Cub:  Sword of Vengeance which was also released in 1972.  The film continues the adaptation of Kazuo Koike’s famous manga released between September 1970 and April 1976 and portions of this film were used to make the 1980 American film version called Shogun Assassin.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered collection of the series (Criterion #841).

While the first film’s meat was primarily giving the backstory of Ittō and Daigoro, this film really puts them in a full length adventure with little backstory.  It is a different feeling film than the first film, but still possesses that fun (and gore) for which you hope.

lone wolf and cub baby cart at the river styx head split ogami itto tomisaburo wakayama

If it was made in America, he’d say something about a splitting headache

Though I didn’t like the assassination story much in the first one, this one is better.  It also has more of a feel of a Spaghetti Western or even something like El Topo from 1970.  The bleak story of Ittō and Daigoro could be just out and out depressing, but seeing the relationship between the two is interesting especially since you get to see Daigoro take a more proactive role in his future by killing and aiding his father.

For the most part, the supporting characters are rather stock characters in this type of film.  Tomisaburo is strong as Ittō and does give the bizarre role some heart.  The director continues to do a good job pulling personality out of the young Akihiro Tomikawa as Daigoro.  The scenes in which Daigoro is having to tend to his father’s injuries are some of the best scenes in this film and show some abilities for the very young actor.

lone wolf and cub baby cart at the river styx ending ogami itto daigoro tomisaburo wakayama

Just don’t even think about it, lady

The movie also improves the already good visuals of the first film.  The settings of this film with the long river road and the desert also provide a better location to film.  Much like the story, the film also has a very Spaghetti Western film with these locations, and as a big fan of the Spaghetti Western, that goes a long way with me.

Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart at the River Styx is another great entry in a fun (and under seen) series.  If you liked Kill Bill and you never experienced films that helped lead to Kill Bill, you need to seek out Lone Wolf and Cub (Kazuo Koike’s other story Lady Snowblood was the basis of a lot of Kill Bill’s plot).  Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart on the River Styx is followed by Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart to Hades.

Related Links:

Lone Wolf and Cub:  Sword of Vengeance (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)

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

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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