Female Yakuza Tale/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Female Yakuza Tale

Teruo Ishii’s sequel to Sex & Fury is often considered the better of the two. I don’t quite agree but I do admit Female Yakuza Tale is a pretty damn good sequel. Ishii’s movie is less about cinematic poetry and more about outrageous fun. Ishii has added some hilarious humour, a totally off the wall plot and amped up the level of sex and violence. In terms of visuals the film is even more colourful than the original. A friend of mine described Female Yakuza Tale as the most colourful movie he has ever seen. He of course had not seen Bohachi Bushido but what he said wasn’t too far from the truth.

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The gambling theme is almost fully gone and what remains is just the historical yakuza roots. Ishii however introduces an interesting and maybe a little bit insulting (feminists beware) mystery plot. There’s several characters who’s motives aren’t revealed until at the end which makes the story unexpectedly catchy. Less unexpectedly there’s an overload of sex but thankfully Ishii keeps things moving fast and never stops to waste too much time for a single scene. The film opens with a fantastic fight in the rain, a scene that remind of the opening of Ishii's erlier film, Blind Woman Curse (1970). Although that film starred Meiko Kaji, the star of Female Yakuza Tale, Reiko Ike, was also familiar with the concept as she did a very similiar action scene in Norifumi Suzuki's Lustful Shogun and His 21 Mistresses (1972). Suzuki himself on the other hand directed Junko Fuji in yet another similiar scene in Red Peony Gambler: Gambler's Obligation (1968).

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One scene that has to be mentioned is the incredible, insane finale (slight spoilers in this paragraph). An army of naked women armed with swords, guns and hand granades takes on a group of yakuzas. There’s blood, guts and naked swordswomen literally flying through the screen. Something you’re unlikely to ever see again. After the massacre we get to hear the film’s theme song performed by Reiko Ike herself. This was another 70’s exploitation film trend, with Miki Sugimoto singing a Meiko Kaji esque theme in Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs and Meiko Kaji herself of course singing several classic theme songs. And speaking of Kaji, Female Yakuza Tale also feautures a certain hilarious Sasori reference.

Reviewed by Hung Fist

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