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Archive for August 12th, 2012

Hoshi Izumi is a 16 year old schoolgirl whose father has recently passed away. A woman named Mayumi turns up at her apartment with a letter from her late father stating that Mayumi was his mistress and he would like Hoshi to become friends with her. One day whilst Hoshi is at school, a group of yakuza personnel turn up at the gates demanding to see her. It seems that Hoshi’s father was the leader of the Medaka group and Hoshi is the next successor. However, the Medaka group isn’t that big, in fact it only has 4 members and they’re in the middle of a turf war with the 40 strong Matsunoki group who is looking to take over the Medaka group’s territory. Hoshi reluctantly accepts the leadership post and it’s up to one of them Sakuma to teach her all about yakuza etiquette. Things are about to hot up as Hoshi’s apartment is trashed with the Matsunoki group looking for a stash of stolen heroine that they believe her father had taken from them. A police detective Kuroki is also on the case. When one of the Medaka group is killed by Matsunoki, Hoshi decides it’s time to take the fight to them but will that plan backfire on her?

Sailor Suit and Machine Gun is a satire on the yakuza movie genre, you honestly wouldn’t think that a naive young teenager could take over a yakuza group in real life!! It’s one of the biggest Japanese cult films of the 80’s. I was already familiar with the story having watched the 2006 drama series which was pretty good. Sadly this movie isn’t a patch on the drama and I thought it was disappointing on the whole. This movie is supposed to be a drama comedy but I failed to see where the laughs were supposed to be coming from. I expected to see a movie with some decent action and funny comedy but I didn’t get any of them. I found it incredibly boring at times and there are some segments which adds nothing to the storyline. It does get better by the climax but it’s a case of too little too late – most viewers will have switched off or fallen asleep. It takes somebody with a lot of patience to enjoy it. I just felt that the movie wasn’t pierced together too well, it’s like a jumbled mess. The directing isn’t that good with poor pacing. The long one-shot takes which was a trademark of director Shinji Somai are impressive though. The storyline/script needed more work on it and the acting is shabby at best though Hiroko Yakushimaru is the only one that did OK in her role as Hoshi who’s a likeable character.

Hiroko Yakushimaru who plays the main character Hoshi Izumi got her big break on this movie and went on to become (and still is) a very successful actress. If you’ve watched the Always trilogy then you’ll recognise her as Mr Suzuki’s wife in those movies. During the 80’s she was a ‘super-idol’ to the masses and if it wasn’t for one word she uttered in this movie she probably might never have been so popular. That word comes near the end of this movie when she enters a room full of yakuza and sprays the place full of bullets with her machine gun before sighing and saying “kaikan” which roughly means exciting or feel’s good. It was a defining moment in Japanese cinema at the time as suddenly everybody starting copying the way Hoshi said the word in the movie!!

I really wanted to like this movie. I would advise people to catch the drama series instead, it’s way better than this misfiring mess.

Sadako’s Rating: 2 stars out of 5

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