Adapted from the long-running successful Manga series, the Lone Wolf and Cub films represent the very best in the chanbara genre. This Criterion set includes all six films, gorgeously remastered, as well as Shogun Assassin, the Americanised re-edit of the first two films that sacrifices narrative and thematic coherence in favour of an eerie but unnecessary voiceover and smoothed-out morality. The series follows Itto Ogami (Tomisaburô Wakayama), introduced as executioner to the ruling shogunate in an opening sequence that is as beautiful as it is brutal.

For the full review, head over to CineVue.