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More a "greatest hits" movie than an actual stand-alone film of its own, Shogun Assassin is the delirious hybrid of two episodes of the popular Baby Cart series dubbed into English and fused together into a hyper-violent bloodbath ballet that's sure to entertain the samurai-film enthusiast with a strong stomach. The swords fly fast and furious as a wondering shogun is forced into exile after being framed and his wife murdered. Giving his infant son the choice between the merciful release of death (represented by a ball) and the life of constant threat and danger (a sword) the child reaches for the sword, marking the beginning of a brutally violent struggle for survival among a sea of would-be assassins. From this point on plot is secondary, focusing instead on a series of violent vignettes in which limbs fly freely in a furious blur of lightning swords. Utilizing masterful swordsmanship in addition to a cleverly designed and lethal baby carriage, father and son are in a constant state of ultra-alert adrenalized awareness, conscious that instant death may lurk beyond every carefully chosen path.

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Special Features Program notes Daigoro's history lesson Restoration gallery Original theatrical trailers

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KOC1129 Shogun Assassin DVD (1980/Tomisaburo Wakayama) $19.98 $17.99