director Kenji Misumi
Part Five of this six-part film series, known as the “Baby Cart” series, Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons features a return from director Kenji Misumi, who sat out the prior installment Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972).
It starts out with this rather odd and amusing series of strangers that encounter the Lone Wolf, seeking to employ him to assassinate someone. Each progressive encounter involves a fight to the death to test him and provide him more information on the hit. It’s actually a rather complicated narrative about a lord who has replaced his son, the right heir to his shogunate with his daughter by a concubine, a letter he wrote that describes this, a monk unto whom he has sent this message, and the monk’s actuality as some double agent spy leader of another killer group.
There is also a rather long aside about a pickpocket who tries to embroil the Cub in an escape plan of hers and a public punishment of the stoic lad.
I’m kind of curious if this series really has an end in its final installment, or really it turns out to be just another leg in an ongoing saga. The titles of the films indicate a further push into the depths of evil and hell, which is echoed in the story.
We’ll see. Soon.