Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades ★★★★

Although the plot is a bit more convoluted than the first two installments, and despite some boring segments toward the middle of the film, the resolution is satisfying and then some.  There are also some interesting supporting characters that actually get some development e.g. a mercenary that wants to fight Ogami and serves as a kind of "frenemy" comparison character to our protagonist; and a strong female yakuza character adhering to her own moral code. 

Notably, these supporting characters living on the fringes of society are feeding into a subtext about honor and morality that is promoted and explored a bit more aggressively in this entry. In Baby Cart to Hades the agents of the Shogunate hide behind their codes and are clearly lacking scruples, while the outcasts are portrayed as adhering to their own value systems, deviant as they may be.  This seems to be a wider phenomenon in Japanese cinema at the time as one can look at yakuza films of the early 1970s and see similar themes of codebreaking, individual vs. collective, and so forth.

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