Lone Wolf And Cub 4: Baby Cart In Peril (Japan 1972)

Rating: ***
Cast: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Akihiro Tomikawa

Ogami Itto really takes a beating in this film as it ends with the Yagyu leaving him for dead with a sword sticking in his back. The first third of the film revolves almost solely around Daigoro who actually looks like he's acting instead of reacting. It's occasionally awkward as he makes goo-goo faces for the camera, but all in all he's wonderful. He gets separated from his dad and has to get along by himself until dad shows up to save him from a previous rival. By this film, he has become completely numb to the endless violence surrounding him and is slowly becoming his father, even helping him out in battle. Itto is hired to kill a tattooed swordswoman with an unfortunate past. His unique code of honor kicks in as he finds the events surrounding her death intolerable and goes back to the clan that hired him for vengeance. Then Retsudo Yagyu and a horde of Yagyu clansmen show up and a ridiculous battle ensues, leaving Itto in very bad shape and Retsudo with one less eye. Somewhat of a letdown as the series is beginning to show some wear. The score also seems more bizarre and jazzy, and almost inappropriate at times.