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Shogun Assassin Blu-ray Review

The Blu-ray edition of “Shogun Assassin” will please fans of the film.

The plot: After working as an executioner for a corrupt shogun, Ogami is targeted to be killed by his boss- the crazy Shogun. The Shogun hires a ninja to kill Ogami, but instead, the ninja winds up killing Ogami’s wife. Now, Ogami decides to become a rogue assassin and travel the road with his son. Of course, having now gone rogue, Ogami has to face off against the shogun’s assassins who want him dead.

Maybe I’m a purist, but I would rather watch “Lone Wolf And Cub: Sword Of Vengeance” and “Lone Wolf And Cub: Baby Cart At The River Styx” than see “Shogun Assassin.” ‘Shogun,’ for those that don’t know, was made for American/British audiences and contains parts of the above mentioned two films edited together with an English dub and corny 80’s music thrown in. I realize this violent grindhouse cult classic has its fanbase, but it always bugged me that ‘Shogun’ is just a mish mash of two films. Plus, I find the dub and music to be rather irritating.

It should be noted that I am not knocking the material itself. On the contrary, I am particularly fond of the chemistry between Ogami and his son as well as the legendary bloody, fight sequences. I just think it’s a shame that we don’t get to see the fully developed story as presented in the two “Lone Wolf” films.

Summary: If you’re a hardcore “Shogun Assassin” fan, this Blu-ray disc is for you. If not, I suggest checking out the “Lone Wolf And Cub” films instead.

The 2.35:1 1080p picture quality is decidedly hit and miss. I noticed a lot of dirt specs, grain, and wavy images throughout the film. On the plus side, some of the shots look flat out gorgeous (namely the rainy, clear blue sky scenes). 

The Mono track is solid, but it’s definitely not up to Blu-ray standards.

Extras:
* A slideshow comparing the bootleg, DVD, and Blu-ray image quality. 
* An HD “Shogun Assassin” trailer.
* A fun interview with Samuel L. Jackson talking about his love of samurai films, “Lone Wolf And Cub,” “Afro Samurai,” etc.
* Commentary by producer David Weisman, illustrator/poster artist Jim Evans and voice actor Gibran Evans. Informative, but very dry.
* Another commentary track by film scholar/author/columnist Ric Meyers and martial arts expert Steve Watson. Ric is having a blast on this track with tons of facts and trivia, but Steve offers little.

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September 4, 2010 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review |

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