Genre: Whole Lotta Nekkid Pinkie Violence
review in one breath
Inoshika Ocho is back!! And now she is tracking down a band of drug traffickers using female orifices (!) to secretly transport their dope. In this sequel to the very memorable Sex and Fury, the "blood and breast" theme continues full throttle. Though not nearly as effective as its prequel and routinely going completely over the top, this maintains a level of jaw-dropping entertainment.
This is the second of two films following the adventures of the oh so beautiful yet tough as nails Inoshika Ocho. As for the meaning of her name and the reason for her becoming such a formidable master of the sword, you need look no further than this film's prequel Sex and Fury (1973) by director Suzuki Norifumi.
I REALLY enjoyed Sex and Fury and wholly recommend it as the genre-setting cult classic it is reputed to be. In essence the tale is a classic revenge motif powerfully propelled by a young girl's memory of seeing her loving father killed by yakuza thugs. The energy and rationale for the narrative are compelling, as the entire plot simply makes sense.
Merely months after the debut of the very popular Sex and Fury director Ishii Teruo directed this sequel.
Although director Ishii has had quite a prolific career, I have to date seen only one (other) of his films, the 1999 remake of Jigoku (Hell) which, when compared to the 1960 orginal by director Nakagawa Nobuo, came up significantly lacking.
And I guess in several ways I feel the same way regarding Ishii's attempt to redraw and further the very compelling character of Inoshika Ocho.
Ishii casts the same actress, Ike Reiko as Ocho and employs the prequel's screenwriter Kakefuda Masahiro. But where director Suzuki developed the character Ocho within a coherent and emotionally believable tale of revenge, Ishii approaches the character of Ocho wholly as a means of confronting the audience with oodles of nudity and masochism.
Consider, for example, the mere fact that in Ishii's imagination he needs literally about 50 flailing topless women to pull this project off. The utter deluge of gratuitous nudity and the thread-bare plot to hold the various bOObie scenes together COMPLETELY undermine the emotional investment fans of Sex and Fury had poured into Ocho. Here she is merely a gimmick around which swirling hoards of nipples rise and fall in the foreground amidst wholly sexploitative and implausible plot elements.
As she disbarks from a steam liner at a small port town, Ocho is greeted by a young woman apparently awaiting her arrival. But the young woman leads Ocho into an utterly humiliating and life threatening situation at the hands of yakuza thugs who have apparently mistaken Ocho for someone else.
Her anger over being thus humiliated and violated leads her on a quest to discover who these thugs are and what their purposes were. What she finds is a vast yakuza-driven drug smuggling ring using addicted young women to haul their drugs around. For the wage of free drugs, these women conceal drug vials (of various sizes, mind you) in their... you know what... Yep.
When Ocho learns that this drug trade and its subsequent corruption is eroding the legacy of one of her deceased father figures (a yakuza boss), she turns up the heat and sets out to "unplug" this hot and steamy narcotics scheme.
Simply put: This just doesn't live up to Sex and Fury. In the place of a convincing revenge narrative, you will be thrown into an almost laughable fiction steeped in commercially utilitarian vaginas and conveniently gratuitous nipple exposure. Here the core of the revenge motif is based initially on the humiliation of probing fingers looking for a vial and then, much later, on Ocho's concern of her godfather's legacy. But these motives are FAR from convincing and utterly pale in comparison to the compelling revenge motif set out in Sex and Fury.
There is some swordplay here, but for the most part guns prevail making the notorious "blood and breast" scenes here far less valorous that those in the prequel.
Director Ishii has certainly increased the "pink" factor here, and for that reason it may be rather appealing to some, but I personally feel the narrative sacrifice was too great and that qualitative difference between this film and its prequel is disappointingly significant.
One can only wonder whether Ishii's sequel ultimately killed an otherwise long-lived and beloved female heroine.
Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD available at all mainstream venues.
|Not quite something you'd want to share with your culturally elite friends.||The most shocking (and repulsive) violence is off screen yet repeatedly discussed and the subject of numerous newspaper headlines. Plenty of sword and gun violence.||In addition to a HUGE number of naked women often in states of copulation, you will be repeatedly treated to their enthusiastic "acceptance" of said vial in said orifice(s).||Don't confuse "strangeness" with value. That said, this is undoubtedly a notoriously sexploitative PINK film, and memorably so.|