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Posts Tagged ‘Meiko Kaji’

Two Japanese men help a Vietnam war deserter escape from Japan for Sweden. They plan to fund the escape by selling 500 LSD pills in Yokohama. The Alleycats led by Meiko Kaji initially harass and attempt to steal from the trio, but the girls become more sympathetic once they realize what they’re actually trying to do. Things get into trouble when a rival male motorcycle gang called The Dragons tries to steal the LSD. Then begins a series of double crosses, kidnapping, hostage exchanges, and motorcycle chases. Will the trio manage to sell their stuff, get enough money to leave Japan before the military police get their hands on the war deserter?

The 4th Stray Cat Rock movie is yet another solid entry in the series. Whilst it doesn’t change that much plot-wise from the other three, it is still an entertaining and exciting movie for those that have followed them. The trademarks from previous movies (great funky music, colourful 70’s fashion and more singing inside a groovy nightclub) all appear once again and we even get to hear Meiko Kaji’s dulcet tones. By now Kaji had established herself as the star of the series and pulls in another fine performance although her role isn’t as strong as the previous movie (Sex Hunter) as the plot doesn’t directly concern her character. She still looks great in her white dress and black hat though. The supporting cast contribute hugely to the enjoyment of this movie especially Bunjaku Han, Eiji Go and Tatsuya Fuji who plays a nicer character to the one he played in Sex Hunter. So far the series has been rather tragic in it’s plotlines and that continues here. You didn’t expect a happy ending did you!!! One of the highlights is a rather cool sequence as the Alleycats head off to a Honda motorbike dealer and come back out in their mopeds and give chase to the Dragons’ leader Sakura in his side-car through various outdoor and inside locations.

You’d have thought that perhaps by the 4th movie, there would be a slight dip in the series especially as the first 4 Stray Cat Rock movies were all released in 1970 one after another and shot very quickly in succession but the quality in the scripts and stories stayed consistent and this one is definitely worth watching.

No trailer I’m afraid.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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The story is set over a weekend as tough tomboy motorcyclist Ako meets Mei at a traffic light junction on Friday when she hops on the back of Ako’s bike teasing with a promise of meeting some girls if she gives her a lift. With nothing better to do, Ako obliges. Mei and her female gang are about to have a rumble with another female gang. But just as Mei’s gang is about to triumph over the other gang in the fight, a bunch of male thugs interrupt and swing the odds in their opponent’s favour. That is, until Ako barges in on her bike with enough distraction for Mei’s gang to escape. Later on at a club, Ako is introduced to Mei’s boyfriend Michio who is desperate to join a local yakuza syndicate, the Seiyu Group. He persuades them to part with 10 million yen on a boxing match scam in which his friend Kelly is taking part in a match. Michio is adamant that Kelly will throw away his fight in order for the Seiyu Group to make 40 million yen in return and Kelly will get a small part of the profit too. In the meantime, 2 of Mei’s gang has failed to return after the fight. They’ve been captured by the thugs who are underlings to the Seiyu Group. One manages to escape but the other is subjected to a nasty torture by blowtorch to her breasts! A rescue attempt is successful but things are about to go from bad to worse when Kelly changes his mind about losing his match and wins his bout which makes the Seiyu Group unhappy. Michio is captured and beaten up but fear not, Mei’s gang and Ako save the day with the head of the Seiyu Group slashed near his eye for good fortune by Michio. He orders the thugs to track down Michio. Escaping to a safe house, Ako, Mei and an injured Michio hope to lie low but their hopes for that are dashed when one of Mei’s gang Mari is taken by the Seiyu Group to be interrogated on Michio’s hideout. It’s not too long before they show up at the hideout and in a show of defiance Michio is unfortunately killed. Now Mei is out for revenge but can she, Ako and the gang defeat the underlings and the Seiyu Group?

Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss was the first of five movies that was quickly made over the course of 18 months and were quite popular during their day. However unlike most pink violence movies which are quite sleazy with modest amounts of sex and hardcore violence thrown in, this doesn’t follow that pattern at all. This movie is all about promoting girl power (the Spice Girls would be proud of these tough girls!). There’s plenty of violence but it’s not that gratitious. The story hooks you in from the beginning when Ako and Mei meet for the first time. You begin to care for the girls and wonder what will happen to them. Some viewers might feel that there’s a touch of the movie The Warriors on display here as Mei’s gang has to sneak around Tokyo looking for a place to hide from the Seiyu Group. Perhaps Walter Hill got some ideas from this movie? Another big plus of this movie especially for men watching will be the beautiful eye candy on display. Naturally all eyes will be on the gorgeous Meiko Kaji but the rest of her gang are all stunning too. This movie also has an excuse to feature some psychedelical musical numbers by a group called OX because some scenes are set in a club, Akiko Wada also getting a chance to showcase her singing talents. The director of the movie Yasuharu Hasebe added some psychedelic flashing colour from time to time onscreen which I found rather annoying. He only did that to show that time had passed in scenes from afternoon to evening or from one day to a new one otherwise he did a really good job in giving the viewer a fine story to watch with some intriguing camera trickery on show.

This was the breakout movie for Meiko Kaji. After this movie, Meiko was promoted by Nikkatsu Studios in which she would become the legendary exploitation/pink violence star of the 70’s in Japan. She shares the leading role status in this very cool movie with Akiko Wada (who funnily enough comes up regularly as one of the most hated women in Japan these days). Can’t imagine why she’s so hated? Although both Meiko Kaji and Akiko Wada would return for the 2nd movie in the series, Akiko’s involvement would be lessened in order for Meiko Kaji’s star status to rise.

There’s one pitiful sequence in which Ako and Mei are chased by the thugs on their motorbikes and a beach buggy. The way some of the thugs drop by the wayside as they fall over on their bikes is embarassing to watch. They should have thought of better ways of disposing of them so that only the buggy remains in the chase. Funnily enough once the other bikes are out of the way the chase improves considerably as we see both vehicles darting in and out of the Tokyo subway system with the general public looking puzzled as the vehicles passes them. The look on their faces says it all as they’re thinking “what the hell are these things doing down here?”!!

Overall I really enjoyed this movie and the short running time of 80 mins made the pace quite quick and snappy. It’s a great starting point for those that want to get into the pink violence/exploitation genre. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Bored bar girl Hijiriko steals some cash from her workplace and a car. Across town, gangster minion Jiro is helping his boss and his cronies kill somebody when they turn on him. He manages to take off in his boss’ car along with 5 million yen. Both Hijiriko and Jiro crash into one another but instead of arguing about whose fault it was, they take off together in another stolen car. As they start blazing a trail of crime across the country and succeeding in pissing off every person they meet, they mistakenly get locked inside a steel container. After being released when the container arrives at it’s destination, Jiro and Hijiriko nab a pump action shotgun from a hunter after killing him. They begin a murderous spree which not only attracts the local police but also the gangsters that have been after Jiro from the start of the movie. Realising that Jiro is heading to his sisters place in the town of Tango near Kyoto, the gangsters set up a trap in a lonely wooden cabin up in the mountains. Will Hijiriko and Jiro manage to evade the trap by the gangtsters and escape from the police?

This isn’t a well known movie for Western viewers even though it’s got 70’s exploitation queen Meiko Kaji in one of the leading roles. Don’t make the mistake of thinking because of that it’s not any good because you’ll be missing out on a brilliant movie. With it’s Bonnie & Clyde storyline, this is a fantastic action thriller which motors along at a cracking pace. It has a hint of dark humour running throughout even though the story is serious and has quite a bit of excessive violence. We’ve all become used to seeing Meiko Kaji in roles as a cold, emotionless woman so it’s quite a change to see her display a little bit of emotion in this movie even though she is certainly her usual frosty self for the first half. As the storyline moves into the second half we see that Hijiriko has developed some feelings for Jiro and they start a relationship. It’s not often we see Kaji in a movie showing a romantic side to her. Hijiriko and Jiro make an interesting combination.

Director Sadao Nakajima manages to keep the movie interesting and entertaining with hardly any let up in the action right through to it’s bloody climax. As a big fan of Meiko Kaji, I can thoroughly recommend this to anybody that may have only seen her in the Female Prisoner series and wants to expand their viewing experience of her. It’s well worth seeking out.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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The 2nd Lady Snowblood movie. Sentenced to death for her crimes of murder, Yuki is given pardon by Kikui, a secret government police agent. In return for her freedom, Kikui wants Yuki to assassinate anarchist Ransui and obtain a secret document he is hiding. While carrying out her orders, Yuki discovers the document in question is actually a letter incriminating agent Kikui. Always one to be on the side of justice, Lady Snowblood switches sides, joining anarchist Rasui to face off, expose, and destroy the crooked agent.

The movie retains the style of the first and the story is unpredictable with some twists. There is considerable action at the beginning and end which sees Yuki hacking her way through a load of bad guys but there are long stretches that focus primarily on Ransui and his ailing wife. Meiko Kaji as always is rather impressive as Yuki and has lost none of her charisma from the first movie. Rather than vengeance being the theme of the movie, it’s more about politics and corruption.

I enjoyed Love Song of Vengeance. It’s perhaps not as good a movie as Blizzard From The Netherworld, but it’s well-made and worth watching if you enjoyed Lady Snowblood’s exploits the first time around. There’s far less blood letting than it’s predecessor. Even if you find the movie dragging on slightly, Meiko Kaji’s presence will be enough to hold your attention.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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The Ginza Butterfly Nami is back in a new story that finds her on the hunt for Hoshiden, the man who killed her gambler father when she was only a child. Arriving in Tokyo, Nami takes a job as a hostess in a swank Ginza club, all the while combing the back-alleys and gambling dens for news of Hoshiden’s whereabouts. Local street entrepreneur Ryuji joins her in the search, and eventually in a bloody raid on the yakuza headquarters where Hoshiden now living incognito, under an assumed name is hiding out.

More of a yakuza drama rather than an all out revenge movie. The exploitation and violence we’ve come to expect in Kaji’s movies is toned down a bit and there’s even some comedy thrown in until the final 15 mins when all hell breaks loose as she teams up with Sonny Chiba to unleash a fury on her father’s murderer and his goons. Meiko Kaji delivers as she always does in her movies – playing the tough, hard as nails wandering gambler who won’t take any shit from anybody. This movie is probably on a par with the first Wandering Ginza Butterfly movie. If you’re a Kaji fan then you don’t want to miss out on this.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Another great movie starring the fantastic Meiko Kaji. In this one Kaji is Nami who’s released from jail after murdering a Yakuza boss and starts a job as a hostess in a club in Ginza. It’s not too long, however, that the Owada clan start making moves on the hostess club by squeezing some pressure on the female owner to sell up. One thing leads to another and the result is one of Nami’s male friends being gunned down in cold blood. With her fury at boiling point, Nami and the murdered man’s brother head to the Owada clan’s hideout to unleash hell on them!

Don’t expect anything along the lines of the Scorpio or Lady Snowblood movies in this one. There’s a slow steady build-up that something is about to kick-off but the violence is kept to a minimum until the climax. It doesn’t matter to me, I just enjoy seeing Meiko Kaji kick some ass (something she does very well I might add!). I expect those expecting tons of blood being sprayed from the onset will become bored quickly. Kaji as always delivers a magnificent performance. For fans of Meiko Kaji like myself, this is brilliant and worth checking out.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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The delectable 70’s female Japanese icon Meiko Kaji stars in this movie revolving around gangs. She plays Mako, leader of the Alleycats – a group of girls who become involved in a war with a rival male gang called The Eagles led by The Baron.

It’s a great movie with racial violence a major part of the plotline. If you like Meiko Kaji then you can’t go wrong with this movie as she’s brilliant in it but those who think she plays a character like Sasori (Scorpion) are going to be sorely disappointed.

No trailer but a part of the opening sequence from the movie

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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