The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Samurai Wolf and Samurai Wolf II: Hellcut.
Isao Natsuyagi is Kiba, the Samurai Wolf, an affable, beguiling swordsman willing to lend a hand and smile. In Samurai Wolf, Kiba uses his quick-draw style help defend a small town messenger service against a plot to ruin it by stealing a 30,000 ryo delivery, while the sequel sees the young wanderer embroiled in the vengeful plans of a prisoner who reminds him of his long-dead father. Balancing chambara conventions with Spaghetti Western style, Hideo Gosha creates a pair of exhilarating films consistent with his dark, cynical portrayals of corruption and violence, while offering an unexpected brightness in the honest and honorable Kiba. Full of secret plans, hidden grudges, double-dealing, and lethal aggression, Samurai Wolf and Samurai Wolf II: Hellcut are entertaining proof that good things come in small packages.
- New, restored high-definition digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Audio commentary by Japanese-cinema historian Chris D.
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by film critic Bilge Ebiri, Japanese-film and -culture critic Patrick Macias, and graphic novelist J. P. Kalonji