DVD Review: Lone Wolf and Cub - White Heaven In Hell (1974) (Super Samurai Week 2013 Day 6)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Sunday, December 1, 2013 0 comments

White Heaven in Hell is the sixth and final film in the Lone Wolf and Cub series and in this film we see our favorite hitman Ogami whom is fed up with Retsudo (the guy who framed him for the murder of his wife in the first film) and wants to put their deadly feud to rest by taking his revenge and killing him.  Over at Retsudo's place he is thinking the same thing and send his daughter out to kill Ogami.  Retsudo's daughter meets-up with Ogami and challenges him to a duel but ultimately loses due to Ogami being too good of a fighter.  Retsudo hears that his daughter has failed her task and gets really mad to the point where he becomes very desperate and travels up to the mountains.  Once Retsudo arrives to the mountain you see him talking to a weird stone slab... or so we think.  After the chat we see a bunch of mountain ninjas come out from the bushes and we find out that Retsudo is talking to his bastard (illegitimate) son that he abandoned in the mountains after finding out that a concubine he slept with gave birth to him.  Retsudo's son isn't happy to see him and goes on about how much of a bad father he was and refuses to have anything to do with him.  However Retsudo's son decides to go after Ogami anyway.  This guy doesn't mess around either as not only does he try to attack Ogami but he also takes out everybody that comes in contact with him.  What's even more scary is that Ogami is starting to show fear with all the scare tactics going on.  Will Ogami conquer his fear and get revenge on Retsudo and his family?  All this and slightly more in the final installment of Lone Wolf and Cub.  (Click "Read More" for the full review). 

I enjoyed this one as it not only did they continue on the feud that everybody wanted to see but it also told a very solid story.  This is the second film in the series to use the one long story format and it is more fine tuned in this one fixing all the problems they had in the previous film when they introduced this format, " Baby Cart in the Land of Demons".  It was very nice to see Retsudo's family get some screen time as it added a different perspective to the story that added some freshness. 

Character wise Retsudo's family were pretty decent and while you won't care for them as much as Ogami you will end up falling for them anyway which is the first time I have ever really showed support for the villains in this series.  The Bastard Son is also quite a terrifying bastard (pardon the pun and my French) using fear tactics to get his point as if he was a ghost haunting Ogami and is the reason why I added "horror" to the genre section at the end section of this review... although it is very "mild horror" before you all turn inro keyboard warrior mode and complain that "this is not horror".  The main character himself is pretty good in this one and pulls off the emotions for the character really well as you can tell what the character is saying just from facial expressions alone.  His speeches in battle are also quite powerful and will drive a chill down your spine making you think to yourself "I'm sure glad that I don't have to face him in a battle".  The musical score is pretty good for the most part but there are some pieces that just don't go well with the film at all as some of the songs sound very goofy like if I was watching some cartoons.

There is quite a bit of action in this film and it was all very good.  They were all choreographed very well and there was quite a variety in battlefields and fighting styles.  I especially liked the fights that took place in the snowy mountains as it added some more freshness to the series.  Unlike the rest of the films you won't see as many gruesome moments in this one although you do get the occasional limb severing but nothing as hardcore as the previous films showed.  The final battle was quite good and it did leave me wanting more but sadly it's also not as satisfying as I was hoping for with an anti-climatic ending.

You know what to expect in the special features section at this point as you get a collection of promotional photos and the original theatrical trailer.  The trailer is alright but not the strongest one in this collection.  Overall this was a very solid film and was worth the watch.  Fans of the series will really like this one.  Very good viewing indeed.
Arrrg!  I'm Pirate!

Well that's it for day six which makes you wonder what I have installed for the final day of Super Samurai Week 2013.  Well all I have to say is that the end is the beginning all over again.  Nah I'm not going to leave on some cryptic nugget.  On the final day we will be taking a look at the re-cut English dubbed version of the first two films titled "Shogun Assassin".

Title: Lone Wolf and Cub - White Heaven In Hell
Directed by: Yoshiyuki Kuroda
Starring: Tomisaburo Wakayama
Genre: Action, Horror
Running Time: 83 minutes
Distributor: Madman Entertainment/ Eastern Eye (www.madman.com.au)
Rating: MA15+ (High level violence)
Price: $39.95 (as part of "Lone Wolf and Cub Ultimate Collection")
Recommended: Yes


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