Cinema Strikes BackContact

NewsReviewsDVD CalendarContestsFilm FestivalsMoviesPeopleInterviewsLinksAboutContact
Female Yakuza Tale: Follow-up To Sex And Fury Is Somewhat Sleazier And Less Arty, But Still Has Some Great Moments
Posted on 10.11.05 by David @ 11:10 pm

AKA: Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture; Yasagure Anego-den – Sokatsu Rinchi; Story of a Wild Elder Sister – Widespread Lynch Law
Country and Year: Japan (1973)
Director: Teruo Ishii
Starring: Reiko Ike, Ryohei Uchida, Tatsuo Endo

Review By: David Austin
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars (good)

Bullet In The Eye

Female Yakuza Tale, the sequel to Sex and Fury, is fun but rarely rises to the level of its predecessor (click here for my review of Sex and Fury). Director Teruo Ishii, working with a lower budget, includes all the sex and violence of the earlier release, but focuses more on the mystery plot and includes considerably more slapstick and sexual ugliness (as befits one of the great ero-guro directors). The result is more straight exploitation than artsploitation, and worse for it. Nonetheless, Ishii made the most of his small budget, Reiko Ike is great, and bizarre and imaginative sequences abound.

The Gorgeous Reiko Ike

Teruo Ishii, brought in to replace Sex and Fury’s Norifumi Suzuki, was no stranger to the bizarre. He was a practitioner of the long-standing Japanese style known as “ero-guro” (erotic-grotesque). Ishii was a great admirer of the Japanese mystery/thriller writer Edogawa Rampo (say it fast), with movies like Yakuza Punishment: Lynch and Horror of Malformed Men to his credit. I got the impression that, as with his Sonny Chiba-starrer, The Executioner, Ishii was not entirely engaged in the material at hand here. Still, Teruo Ishii at ½ strength had more imagination and lunacy than any five normal directors. Ishii was still working until very recently, when he died at the age of 81 (my obituary of Ishii can be found here).

Fight In The Rain

In Female Yakuza Tale, Reiko Ike reprises her role as tough female gambler Inoshika Ocho. Right off the bat, Ishii tries to match the earlier film’s nude fight in the snow by having an increasingly scantily-clad Ocho fights off an army of attackers in the rain (and eventually in the buff). Soon after, Ocho stumbles onto a plot masterminded by the Ogi yakuza clan to smuggle heroin by hiding it in the private parts of drug-addicted prostitutes, when she is mistaken for a courier by the vicious go-betweens who supervise the trade.

Uchida And His Silly Sunglasses

Ocho, who has a history with the Ogi clan’s former boss, uses her connections, and the attentions of the comically lascivious new boss Goda (Tatsuo Endo) to investigate the smuggling ring. She is joined in her mission by Joji (Ryohei Uchida), a former member of the Ogi clan (and wearer of some of the ugliest sunglasses I have ever seen). The two are also assisted by a mysterious woman done up in full Meiko Kaji/Female Convict Scorpion in an obvious parody/homage. Unsurprisingly, the mystery of the smuggling ring is not to be solved without a lot of fighting, card-playing, slapstick, and extremely gratuitous nudity.

Meiko Kaji … Or Just Memorex

Unfortunately the early scene where Ocho is mistaken for a drug mule, captured, and “examined” for concealed heroin is so distasteful that it distorts the tone of the film from the beginning. This overly graphic sequence is not only unpleasant, but also establishes Ike’s character as a victim in the minds of the audience at an early stage. This could have been used if the assault was made a focus of the film, but by introducing and then downplaying it, the character of Ocho is weakened. Certainly the earlier film contained a scene where the heroine was captured and abused, but coming later in the film and followed immediately by righteous vengeance, it felt more like the type of beating Clint Eastwood would routinely take at the end of a Sergio Leone film. This sequence, and similar “examinations” later in the film, left a nasty taste in my mouth that lingered through the remainder of the movie.

Goons In The Rain

Teruo Ishii was a cinematic madman, and it shows here. Female Yakuza Tale is plotted, but it’s clear that the plot is at the mercy of Ishii’s whims. Meiko Kaji impersonator? Sure, why not. Giant nude brawl? What the hell. Insane asylum populated by demonic mimes who look like they escaped from the Evil Dead series? Naturally. At one point, the film even takes a completely straight excursion into classic ninkyo yakuza chivalry films, as Ocho flashes back to the old boss of the Ogi clan helping her when she was younger.

Crazy Claw Girl Attacks During The Insane Final Brawl

Ishii may not have had a tremendous amount of resources to make this movie, but he did have what Roger Corman famously called the cheapest special effect of all – nudity. The final battle may be staged in a no-frills warehouse set, but it features a positive army of naked knife-wielding women fighting it out with yakuza baddies. The sheer gonzo spectacle of it all makes up for the lack of finesse, logic, or production values.

One area where Toei did not stiff Ishii was cast and crew. Ike is excellent, and ably backed by Uchida (Meiko Kaji/Female Convict Scorpion ). Sou Tsuguki turns in a solid, funk-inflected score, and Reiko Ike even performs her own theme song.

Honestly, it is not the lack of money that keeps this film from being better. The real problems are its disorganized slap-happy nature, and a level of nasty sexual violence that goes beyond that of Sex and Fury.

Boss Noda Engages In A Little Slapstick

Recommended? Yes, with caveats. I did not really like this movie as a whole, but there are a enough truly brilliant or wild scenes (the opening and closing fights, the Meiko Kaji-impression, the bullet-attack) to make it well worth watching. Obviously, the copious sex and violence make this movie not for everyone.

If you like this, you might like: Sex and Fury, Female Convict Scorpion 1 and 2, Zatoichi and the Festival of Fire, Lady Snowblood 1, Hanzo the Razor 2, Lone Wolf and Cub 1-3, The Streetfighter, The Sexy Killer, Coffy, Kiss of Death (Shaw Bros.)

Reiko Repents

DVD DETAILS

DVD Production Company: Panik House (www.panikhouse.com)
Release Date: September 27, 2005
Run Time: 86 Mins
Extras: Still and Poster Gallery, Reiko Ike Sticker, Original Theatrical Trailer, Director and Star Bios, Production Notes, Essay on Toei’s Bad Girl Cinema by Chris D., Commentary by Chris D.

Comically Dressed Goon

Panik House’s Region 1 DVD of Female Yakuza Tale is up to the same high level of quality as their release of Sex and Fury. The movie is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and beautifully restored. Sound is also good, and English subtitles are optional. The case is the same somewhat unorthodox translucent snapper case with superimposed images on a sleeve as that of Sex and Fury. Panik House has also provided a nifty Reiko Ike sticker.

Chris D. of American Cinematheque again supplies excellent background information and extras. The original theatrical trailer is included, as well as poster and still galleries. There are detailed Director and Star Bios, covering Teruo Ishii and Reiko Ike. Chris D. has also written interesting Production Notes, mostly detailing the differences between this film and its predecessor, Sex and Fury. His essay on Toei’s Bad Girl Cinema (the same one as on the Sex and Fury DVD) is also included, which discusses Meiko Kaji, and the Sukeban and Female Gambler films. Finally, he has recorded a slightly dry but informative feature-length audio commentary for the film.

Showdown At The Abandoned Factory

© David Austin

Click here to buy the Female Yakuza Tale DVD from Amazon.com


Filed under: Movie Reviews and Movie Reviews: Japan and DVD News and DVD News: Japan and DVD Reviews: Japan and DVD Reviews and Contributors: David and Rating: Good ★★★ and DVD Companies: Panik House and People: Teruo Ishii
Comments:

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)



Search

Latest Movie News
* New York Asian Film Festival/Japan Cuts 2014 Report 2 – Why Don’t You Play in Hell?; The Snow White Murder Case; and No Man’s Land (07/03/2014)
* New York Asian Film Festival/Japan Cuts 2014 Report 1 – Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast; Rigor Mortis; and May We Chat (06/24/2014)
* King Hu Retrospective At the BAMcinematek (06/08/2014)
* Old School Kung Fu Fest Starts Friday (04/16/2014)
* 2014 Friars Club Comedy Film Festival Starts Today (04/01/2014)
 

* Shusuke Kaneko
* Malik Bader
* Nobuhiro Yamashita
* Sabu
* Johnnie To
* Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg & Nick Frost
* Bong Joon-Ho
 
Recent Comments
Anura Padeniya: The movie, Three Yellow Cats is available at Amazon with other Kommissar X movies, but
John Adams: MY TRIBUTE TO KUNG FU MASTER his movies are fantastic will miss JIM KELLY a
hans: David, you need to check your facts. Avid hk movie watchers will remember that Anthony
suresh: ramsay brothers plz make horror movie like veerana and tahkhana im huge fan of ur
Harry: Lot of homoeroticism in the film, as the retarded thugs eye off and grapple with
May: I love Death note and all about them. but, specially L. Lawliet and Matsuyama Kenichi. You're so
Michael Edgecumbe: Where can I obtain any form of copy of this film? It was shot in the
JANAUTICA DAVIS: OZONE IS SO CUTE
SANJEEV: How to get the site from i can download full HORROR MOVIE PURNA MANDIR could
Tom: Barbara Bouchet is one fine actress.And she's pretty too.Please email me at: tomshad@consolidated.net

Movie News
Australia
Canada
France
Germany
Hong Kong
India
Israel
Japan
Malaysia
New Zealand
Pakistan
Poland
Singapore
South Korea
Taiwan
Thailand
Uganda
UK
USA
Vietnam

By Type:
DVD News
Movie Quotes
MP3 Podcasts
Obituaries
Production Info
Rumors
Trailer News
Trivia

External Article
External Interview

By Studio:
IFC Films
Milkyway Image
Shaw Brothers
Sony Pictures
Warner Bros.
More Studios >

Movies
2007
Bug
Grind House
Rogue

2006
Adam's Apples
Apocalypto
Casino Royale
Descent, The
Exiled
Funky Forest
Pan's Labyrinth
Scanner Darkly, A
Superman Returns
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance


Latest Reviews
* New York Asian Film Festival/Japan Cuts 2014 Report 2 – Why Don’t You Play in Hell?; The Snow White Murder Case; and No Man’s Land (07/03/2014)
* New York Asian Film Festival/Japan Cuts 2014 Report 1 – Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast; Rigor Mortis; and May We Chat (06/24/2014)
* New York Asian Film Festival/Japan Cuts 2013 Report 6 – Japan Cuts Kicks Off (07/12/2013)
* New York Asian Film Festival/Japan Cuts 2013 Report 5 – Mainland Crime Stories - Beijing Blues and A Mystery (07/03/2013)
* New York Asian Film Festival/Japan Cuts 2013 Report 4 – Confession of Murder and Countdown (07/03/2013)

Movie Reviews
By Country:
Australia
Canada
Czech
Europe
Germany
Hong Kong
India
Indonesia
Iran
Italy
Japan
Russia
Spain
South Korea
Sweden
Thailand
Turkey
UK
USA

By Rating:
Great ****
Good ***
Average **
Poor *

By Author:
Charlie
David
Jeff
Pete

By Guest Writer:
Brian
John
Mike G.
Mike M.
Wade

Cable:
Cable Series

External Reviews

People
Argento, Dario
Bale, Christian
Chan-wook, Park
Cheh, Chang
Chow Sing Chi, Stephen
Craig, Daniel
Freeman, Morgan
Giamatti, Paul
Gilliam, Terry
Howard, Ron
Hark, Tsui
Jaa, Tony
Jackson, Peter
Jee-woon, Kim
July, Miranda
Kaige, Chen
Kar-wai, Wong
Kurosawa, Kiyoshi
Kuriyama, Chiaki
Lau, Andy
Miike, Takashi
Miyazaki, Hayao
Myung-se, Lee
Nolan, Christopher
Spielberg, Steven
Suzuki, Seijun
Tarantino, Quentin
To, Johnnie
Tse, Nicholas
Vaughn, Matthew
Yen, Donnie
Yeoh, Michelle
Yimou, Zhang
Ziyi, Zhang
More People >

Archive
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012

  • RSS Syndication

    Add to Google

    Subscribe in NewsGator Online

    Add Cinema Strikes Back - Covering the World of Film to Newsburst from CNET News.com

    Add to My AOL

    Add to netvibes

    Subscribe in Bloglines

    Add to The Free Dictionary

    Add to Bitty Browser

    Add to Plusmo

    Subscribe in podnova


    Credits and Copyright
    Proudly powered by WordPress. All content © 2004-2005 Cinema Strikes Back.
    Theme by Theron Parlin