What a blast this movie, just what a blast! Stop reading now and go buy this. Still here? Right, let’s get down to why this is one of the best genre releases of the year. Reiko Ike (from the “Sukeban” or Girl Boss series) plays Ocho, a gambler and pickpocket from Meiji Era Tokyo. After helping a local anarchist escape she encounters three bad guys who may be responsible for the death of her father years earlier, and on top of this she has the Yakuza after her as well after a card game goes badly wrong.
Adding to this extraordinary mix is Christina Lindberg (Thriller, A Cruel Picture) playing a European spy (also called Christina) with a real dodgy accent. Later in the movie Ocho has to play her at cards in order to stop a young virgin from being pulled into a life of prostitution.
We’ve got a nice complicated plot now, but does it matter? Hell no! There is just so much to enjoy including Ocho’s naked bloody swordfight which is worth the price of the DVD alone. Director Norifumi Suzuki has put together a fantastic piece of exploitation cinema, but a very classy one at that. The locations, costumes and cinematography are of a very high standard and you forget it’s an exploitation movie until the screen is full of naked flesh and ultra violence. When watching "Sex and Fury" at certain points you’ll be thinking “Ah, that’s where Tarantino’s influence for that scene in Kill Bill came from.”
Downsides? Not many, but its fair to say that if were not for the exploitation element that the film might get too complicated for its own good and our attention could wander. Also there is a comedy character that does not seem to fit in with the overall feel of the film. However we’re never far away from the next swordfight or flash of flesh and Ike and Lindberg are both a total joy to look at. So as the Clear O-Sleeve says “It’s the best film you’ve never seen.” I totally agree, highly recommended.
The anamorphic 2:35:1 image is a joy to behold with its strong and vivid colours. The original negative that this print was taken from must be in nigh on excellent shape as there is no visible print damage, and it looks like it was made yesterday.
Just one audio option here and it’s the original Japanese Mono (clear and concise English subtitles are included). Once again it seems to be in great shape as the dialogue comes across very clearly and there is no sign of any hiss. In fact I’ll go so far and say its one of the best mono tracks I’ve heard.
Included here are Poster and Stills galleries, a Bio for Norifumi Suzuki and Reiko Ike, a Bio and gallery for Christina Lindberg, the original theatrical trailer and some production notes. The audio commentary is provided by Chris D, author of the book “Outlaw Master of Japanese Film”. Panik House have encased all this in one of the best DVD cases ever. A transparent amaray houses the DVD with a “Clear O Sleeve” outer slipcase that goes over the main case. Also included is a sticker of Reiko Ike. Overall, a great film and cool DVD package that you simply must pick up. With the sequel “Female Yakuza Tale” out already (review coming soon) and the “Pinky Violence Collection” forthcoming, Panik House have set the bar very high and I for one cannot wait to see what they have for us in the future.
Copyright © 2005 Nick Frame. All Rights Reserved