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Archive for January, 2012

Youth Of The Beast (1963)

Jo Shishido plays a disgraced ex-detective Mizuno who’s been in jail. When his ex-partner is killed, Jo plays 2 rival yakuza firms (Nomoto family and the Sanko gang) against each other which leads to war in order to find out who killed his friend. However, the truth lies in an unexpected source.

Having been disappointed with the last Seijun Suzuki movie I watched (Branded To Kill), this was much better and far more interesting even though it smacks of being like Yojimbo. It’s got his usual eye-popping visual style stamped all over it i.e some scenes unexpectedly ending suddenly and the pacing of the movie is fast. Some excellent set-pieces such as Mizuno left tied upside down on a chandelier and defending himself as he is shot at by some yakuza. If you’ve seen Jo Shishido in other movies, you’ll know how he plays his characters. Tough, uncompromising and who won’t take any shit from nobody.

I enjoyed this violent crime thriller and is right up there as one of Seijun Suzuki’s best movies.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Red To Kill (1994)

A psychotic muscular male carer Chan who works at a hostel for the mentally handicapped and is traumatised by an incident as a child which saw his parents brutally slay one another goes crazy whenever he sees the color red. His rage makes him commit the ultimate sin – the rape of a female mentally handicapped person Ming Ming under his care who mistakenly wore a red dress. The subsequent trial afterwards sees him walking away scot free on a technicality but Ming Ming’s friend who also works in the hostel seeks revenge by trying to lure Chan into committing rape again by wearing a very sexy red dress and following him to a bar and his house. All the time teasing him to go nuts. It all comes down to a dramatic blood soaked showdown at a workshop beneath the hostel.

I like watching movies which have an edgy side to them but this HK Cat III movie really makes for uncomfortable viewing and perhaps crosses the line of taste and decency.  That’s not to say the movie is poor or anything, in fact it’s quite well done. The positives for this movie is the exceptional acting of the villain of the movie Chan. He makes for a truly frightening piece of work as we witness him at night walking around and looking for potential victims. A right Jekyll and Hyde character. Seemingly with a calm caring demeanour during the day but turning into a deranged salivating sex-crazed psycho at night. Lily Chung also deserves credit for her sympathetic performance as the innocent victim Ming Ming. There’s a harrowing scene immediately after the long drawn out rape where we see Ming Ming standing in the shower talking to herself that she’s dirty and slicing away at her pubic hair with a razor blade. Another scene in which the other handicapped residents of the hostel are trying to cheer up Ming Ming after the collapse of Chan’s trial is heartbreaking.

You might not be surprised that the director Billy Tang is no stranger to controversial movies having also helmed the nasty horror Dr Lamb (which hopefully I’ll see soon). As you’ve read above, the subject matter of the movie will either make you want to stay away from watching this or compel you to take a look but then again when you’re watching a Cat III movie you should know what to expect in them.  Fans of extreme cinema will definitely love it.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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