Taking a mission to kill a kodachi specialist named Oyuki (Michie Azuma), Ogami Itto (Tomisaburo Wakayama) and son Daigoro (Akihiro Tomikawa) find themselves beset again by the Yagyu as well as those looking to capture Oyuki for themselves. As the next chapter in their journey unfolds, the Lone Wolf and Cub will find themselves up against greater odds than ever before and will need to use every trick in their baby cart to walk away.
Buichi Saito, taking over directorial duties from Kenji Misumi, directs this intense and probably most accurate adaptation from manga to screen of the series. My personal favorite chapter, that of Daigo on his own, plays an important part in this film and I was so happy with its accurate portrayal in the picture. Great setpieces include a terrific temple fight, a memorable duel against Yagyu Gunbei, and the ferocious rock quarry fight with the highest bodycount of the series thus far. Swordplay is excellent and varied, Wakayama shows again why he was one of the best ever to wield a sword onscreen. His speed and power is awesome to watch.
In terms of plot, there is more than a little jumping around before the film tidily comes to a head in the penultimate scene of the film. Oyuki’s compelling story is reflective of such works as Color of Rage or Shurayuki Hime and would work well as its own standalone feature. The return of the Yagyu as villains is welcome and they remind the audience that they are as treacherous as they come.
Production is good with large.outdoor sets and sweeping photography. A newer cleaner look is evident here, more so than Misumi’s somewhat grittier films, and the picture somehow manages to give a classical feel, even amidst all the typical Koike sleaze and nihilism. Music is good, courtesy of Hideaki Sakurai, and it fits the films major moments well; the tone that comes up when there is an explosion of violence is well composed and placed.
In the end, Baby Cart in Peril is a great first entry for Saito, who would go on to direct the next entry in the franchise as well. With accurate adaptations of some of the best chapters in the series, this film ranks among the best comic to screen transitions ever. The continuing adventures of the greatest father and son pair in cinema are well worth your time.