By Travis Johnson

Paramount Pictures have tapped screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, whose main claim to fame is still Seven, to pen an new adaptation of Lone Wolf and Cub, the insanely violent manga series by writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima. Justin Lin, the best thing to ever happen to the Fast & Furious franchise, is attached to produce, and may direct if this thing ever comes to fruition.

Which is… an iffy proposition, shall we say? LW&C doesn’t exactly lend itself to Americanisation (although Road to Perdition is sort of a tribute), either literally or simply in terms of cinematic sensibilities.  Set in 17th century Japan, the story follows Ogami Itto, former executioner for the Shogun, who is betrayed, framed for insurrection, and subsequently takes to the road as a ronin, working as a freelance assassin and seeking (and wreaking) terrible vengeance on his enemies. He’s the Wolf. The Cub is his infant son, Daigoro, who he takes along for the ride in a tricked-out baby cart, because of course revenge should be a family outing.

There was a six-movie series (and a couple of TV shows that don’t have much of a footprint outside of Japan) from 1972-1974 that is just incredible, and recently got a Criterion Collection release. The first two films, Sword of Vengeance and Baby Cart at the River Styx, were edited together by good ol’ Roger Corman to produce 1980’s Shogun Assassin, which got namechecked in Kill Bill Volume 2.

The question is whether the ridiculous amount of bloodletting contained within the original comics and movies will filter through the American studio system intact. Here’s just one extended, totally-worth-eight-minutes-out-of-your-day, fight sequence:

…although with recent R-rated successes like Deadpool and Logan, we might get lucky.

The Walker/Lin Lone Wolf and Cub is obviously very early in development (although Lin’s been attached since 2012), but we’ll be keeping on eye on this one.


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