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

lone wolf and cub baby cart to hades poster 1972 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking blood and guts samurai film

So-so story doesn't have as much direction as some of the others in the series

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart to Hades

Studio:  Katsu Productions/Toho Company

Genre(s):  Martial Arts/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  September 2, 1972 (Japan)/August 1973 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

lone wolf and cub baby cart to hades ogami itto tomisaburo wakayama eyes

I’ve had a long day

Ogami Ittō (Tomisaburo Wakayama) and his son young Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) walk the world as devils…damned for their murderous lives and taking assignment for money.  When Ittō saves a woman named Torizo (Yuko Hamada) from the man who purchased her, he agrees to take her debt and repay it in blood.  With an assignment to kill a deputy, Ittō and Daigoro could be facing their greatest challenge ever…as an army is amassing to stop them.  Plus, Ittō’s honor is challenged as he crosses paths with another samurai named Kanbei (Go Kato) who could mean the end for Ittō.

lone wolf and cub baby cart to hades sunset

He’s coming for you!

Directed by Kenji Misumi, Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart to Hades (子連れ狼 死に風に向う乳母車 or Kozure Ôkami: Shinikazeni mukau ubaguruma aka Wolf with Child in Tow:  Preambulator Against the Winds of Death) is a samurai or chambara action adventure film.  The movie is the third film in the six film Lone Wolf and Cub series.  Following Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart at the River Styx which was released in June of 1972, the film continues the adaptation of Kazuo Koike’s classic manga series which ran from 1970 to 1976.  The film was released in the United States as Shogun Assassin 2:  Lightning Swords of Death.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the series (Criterion #841).

The first two films of Lone Wolf and Cub were a pretty powerful combo.  With this film, the story seems to begin to stray a little, but the great visuals keep you enthralled regardless of the story.  Lone Wolf and Cub isn’t for the faint of heart and this movies keeps up the over-the-top violence with one of the best endings.

lone wolf and cub baby cart to hades machine gun battle

Machine Gun Ittō

The story for the film doesn’t really get going until half way into the film.  Ittō finds himself the protector of a girl sold into sexual slavery and then ends up in an assassination plot once he agrees to take her place.  This job puts him in the middle of a bloody battle and does eventually circle back to the beginning of the film where Ittō has to face off against Kanbei the watari-kashi with the code of honor…it just takes a long time to get the plot going.

The best stories of these films have Ittō faced with a worthy opponent that is also a rounded opponent.  It is obvious (at least to the viewers today) that Ittō will survive since there are more films after this but you don’t really want Kanbei to lose either.  Both Tomisaburo Wakayama and Go Kato do a good job keeping the viewer wanting both to win.

lone wolf and cub baby cart to hades ogami itto vs kanbei go kato tomisaburo wakayama

Bad news, guy…It’s Lone Wolf and Cub not Kanbei and Cub

This movie is bloodier than most of the others simply because of the all-out war at the end.  Ittō single handedly takes out a whole army of soldiers and demonstrates even more abilities of his tricked out baby cart which includes a machine gun.  With the slashing and hacking, there is blood everywhere…and it just what you’d expect from a samurai film from the period.

Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart to Hades is maybe the most violent and visual of the Lone Wolf and Cub movies.  The plot needs some work but the story excels in the battle scenes.  It is a bit of a shame that the plots for all the films weren’t stronger because the movies would be near-perfect for the genre if they were.  Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart to Hades was followed by Lone Wolf and Cub:  Baby Cart in Peril in November of 1972.

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 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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