Plot: A Shogunate executioner is framed and his wife is murdered by some people who apparently don't like him very much. He gives his infant son a choice between a ball and a sword (death and the chance to be with his mother or an opportunity to look cute and travel through hell with his father), and then sets out for a violent world to seek revenge. A self-proclaimed demon and assassin-for-hire, he runs into some people who want him to kill some other people for some reason, and he has sex with a prostitute. Lots of people die, and then Lone Wolf and Cub walk off toward the next movie in the series.
Flyin' limbs a-go-go! This had some of the best sword action I've ever seen in a samurai movie, quick action complete with spraying blood and falling heads. It's definitely the best sword action I've seen from a chubby man with a double chin. The others are no match for him as he's not involved in anything that resembles a closely contested battle. He's clever like Zatoichi, kills with absolutely no expression on his countenance, and is a sort-of anti-hero who is easy to root for though. Although this had its moments (a seen in a spa, breasts, some nature shots, some calm-before-the-deadly-storm pauses), this lacked the consistent visual poetry and the philosophical details of the top notch samurai stuff. The fight scenes, especially the climax complete with its surprises, make up for it, however.
Special note: This is the second movie in a row I have seen in which the protagonist kills people while holding a child. That's probably disturbing.
Put this on my Christmas list:
Here I am watching the first 'Lone Wolf and Cub' in the series and thinking that 5 of my 365 movies will probably be the rest of the series.