New Female Prisoner Scorpion: Tokushu-bo X/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Ground zero. Apart from director Yutaka Kohira, best known for helming the great Etsuko Shihomi/Sonny Chiba film Dragon Princess, returning to direct his second New Female Prisoner film, the Sasori saga is given another clean start. The backstory has been changed and the cast is loaded with new faces. The lead role is played by Sasori number three; Yoko Natsuki.
While Yumi Takigawa was able to adapt the iconic role with moderate success, the same can not be said about Yoko Natsuki. While she’s not terrible by any means, she does not manage to bring much life into the character. She looks good with the right clothing (and without, might I add), but that’s about as far as her special talent goes. On the positive side she is indeed the weakest link when it comes to casting. The supporting cast is excellent and offers plenty of reason to get excited about.
The new prison crew should receive any Toei fan’s acceptance. The warden is played by none other than Masashi Ishibashi. He doesn’t get to throw a single karate move in this film, but he’s definitely the man for the job. His right hand man is played by Hiroshi Tachi, who gives an incredibly cool performance that remided me a bit of Eiji Go’s work. Takeo Chii, who gives another badass performance, handles one of the most remarkable supporting roles. Finally, the cute Kaori Ono gives Sasori’s support as a fellow prisoner.
The film opens with a nice opening credits sequence, accompanied with a decent new theme song. After that the quality goes down a bit. The supporting actors alone can’t make the movie exciting enough, and Kohara’s attempts with surrealism end up more often amusing than impressive. Once again, for a genre fan it’s hard not to enjoy at least a little bit, but for casual viewers the first 50 minutes doesn’t offer that many thrills. There’s a moderate amount of sexploitation, though, and other highlights include the prisoners wearing a very nice t-shirt - shorts combination.
The last 30 minutes is what really makes the film worth a watch. The scrip takes a welcome and even somewhat original turn, and the film becomes visually more attractive. The actors also get more room to shine, and even Natsuki manages to impress a few times. The finale isn’t in the class of the previous film, but offers plenty of quality entertainment. Not a bad way to end the series.
Reviewed by Hung Fist