Nikkatsu’s film titles have never been a good indicator of content, and it’s not the case here either. Sex is spot on, but who the hunter is remains a mystery to me. The film opens with a ballet sequence that gives little clue of what’s to come. After the first 15 minutes (which is nearly one fourth of the total running time) Sex Hunter reveals it’s true form; it’s another s&m schooling film. However, this time the lady that must be converted into a shameless man eater is not a noble house wife but a young and innocent ballet dancer (Ayako Ohta). A good move, if you ask me.
Director Toshiharu Ikeda, who was also responsible for the Angel Guts instalment Red Porno, does his best to create a balance between the numbening sex overload and real cinematic storytelling. The camerawork manages to keep many scenes alive, and the weird jump cuts make audience wonder if they’re intentional or not. Using classical music to create contrast between audio and images is not the most original trick but does the job every now and then. The shocking, and by far greatest, Coca Cola product placement scene of all time made me question not only the film-makers’s sanity but also their understanding for gravity and human biology. I’m no expert on either, though, and will leave the judgement to scientist and gynacologists.
Despite Ikeda’s efforts the studio was not compeletely happy with the outcome. They blamed him for forgetting to insert the romance part in the film. The genre is called roman – as in romantic – porno after all. The accusation feels a bit weird considering Nikkatsu had just revived their less than tender (ultra) violent pinku sub-genre, and Sex Hunter in fact does have a minor love story hidden in there somewhere. And I’m not referring to the male lead’s love for s&m either. Nobuyuki Inoue’s little brother character, trapped in wheelchair and isolated from the surrounding world thanks to her dominating sister, is a genuinely likable character. The scenes between him and his long lost love have both emotional and psychological impact. Thin, perhaps, but effective.
The best of these scenes also differs from the rest of the movie in terms of setting. The three room mansion, where most of the film takes place, is typical Nikkatsu, but occasional outdoor visits allow the film to breathe a bit. The mansion’s stylish surroundings are, as weird as it may sound, slightly redolent of medieval European landscapes. But, as all good things in Sex Hunter, this strength also is under-used in the long run. Little is however better than none, and when you calculate all the numerous positives the film has, Sex Hunter ultimately lands on the positive side.Reviewed by HungFist – 2/21/08