Shogun Assassin (4 stars)

Shogun Assassin

(18) 85min
(Eureka/Masters of Cinema)

Heavily cut by the British Board of Film Censorship for its original cinema release and subsequently banned as a video nasty, this bloodthirsty 1980 martial arts flick has since become a chanabara (samurai cinema) cult classic.

It’s actually a reassembly of the first two of the six films directed by Kenji Misumi adapting the hugely popular manga series Lone Wolf and Cub which tell the story of the ronin Itto Ogami who, framed and disgraced by his clan lord, goes on the run with his three-year-old son to become a sword for hire in medieval Japan.

Despite, or perhaps because of, being unceremoniously hacked apart and stitched back together, Shogun Assassin is a delirious treat. Misumi’s flare for comic brutality (check out the razor sharp flying carrots) remains intact, while his already frenetic style of direction is, if anything, enhanced by the disembowelment of two of his films. Extras: Appreciation by Samuel L Jackson, commentary tracks, trailers to original Lone Wolf and Cub films.

Shogun Assassin trailer

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