Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41/Review

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< Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41
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Shunya Ito’s second installment in the Sasori series is, if possible, even better than the terrific original film. Ito moves further away from anything you could label as typical women in prison movie, or typical exploitation. The first big surprise comes soon after the technically brilliant but storywise not so surprising opening scenes. Seven female prisoners manage to escape while being transported to the prison, and the whole rest of the movie takes place outside the prison walls. Among the escaped prisoners is Scorpion (Meiko Kaji) who holds a personal grudge against the sadistic prison chief (Fumio Watanabe).

Most of the film plays out like a sort of surreal road movie. The story itself is simple but slightly spiced it up with some sensitive subjects like echos of the war crimes commited by the Japanese soldiers in the second World War. The visual side is exceptional with terrific cinematography and use of colors. The surreal stuff is perfectly balanced with the more realistic parts and never feels out of place in the story. Sound effects, music, silence and songs by Meiko Kaji are used extremely well and deserve a special mention. The ending is not quite as satisfying as in the first film, but what precedes it is one hell of a memorable trip.

The main star Meiko Kaji is terrific in here and dominates every scene she’s in, despite the fact that she has no more than two lines of dialogue in the whole film. But her eyes say more than a thousand lines of dialogue ever could, and this is certainly not left unnoticed by Ito who takes full use of close ups. Other notable actors returning from the first film include Fumio Watanabe, Shinzo Hotta and Hideo Murota.

Reviewed by Hung Fist


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