Shogun Assassin

86 minutes 2013

Producer David Weisman has taken the first two episodes of a popular Japanese samurai series—the so-called “Babycart” films—and spliced them into this incredibly violent, thoroughly delirious 1980 feature. The result almost qualifies as a work of art—a collage, perhaps—in itself. With all the exposition and nuance eliminated, the film becomes pure elemental conflict; it suggests a Road Runner cartoon populated by hordes of anonymous extras, all spouting great fountains of orange Day-Glo blood as severed limbs fly everywhere. The original direction, by Kenji Misumi, shows the heavy influence of Sergio Leone; it's full of booming close-ups and lyrical decapitations filmed against the setting sun. Overall, an amazing cross-cultural artifact. 86 min.

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