Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Pinky Violence’

Ecstacyofangels

A small group of radical extremists break into a US military base and steal a cache of weapons from their compound but just as they are about to get away they are fired upon by 2 soldiers. Several members are killed but the survivors including their leader who has been blinded during the raid manage to escape with some of the weapons. The group which are called The Fall Army belong to a larger organisation of terrorists named The Four Seasons Society. The overall leader is a man codenamed Year with 4 armies within the society each named after one of the 4 seasons. The leader of each group has been codenamed after a specific month of the year and the soldiers under them are named after a day of the week. Soon after 2 members of The Fall Army are visited by The Winter Army who have been mobilised due to the failure of the group’s attack with an order from Year that the group has now been dismantled. Tortured by February, the leader of The Winter Army and his girlfriend are forced to confess where they have hidden the weapons they stole. Angry by the betrayal from Year, the blinded Fall Army leader October decides to splinter from The Four Seasons Society and form his own faction with the survivors of the military base attack. With little money they have left and with some of the bombs they kept hidden from The Winter Army, October and his group start their own little guerilla war on authority in Tokyo.

Koji Wakamatsu was a director who was interested and involved with Japanese terrorist groups having made several movies about them in his lifetime. During the late 60’s he become involved in the underground student movement in Japan and a year before this movie was made, Wakamatsu took a trip to Palestine to make the bold “Red Army/PFLP: Declaration Of World War” movie about the struggles of the Palestinians in regaining the land they lost to the Israelis. Years later in 2007 he would revisit the genre again with “United Red Army”. This movie is an intriguing tale about a group of revolutionaries so consumed by their politicial beliefs that by rebelling against authority and waging an urban guerilla war they think it’s for the greater good. It soon dawns on the viewer that these confused and no doubt misguided people haven’t got a clue what they’re doing. You only have to witness the Fall Army’s bombing missions near the end to see that they haven’t got any specific targets in mind, just as long as their activities causes maximum carnage in Tokyo that’s all that matters to them. Whatever sympathetic views you may initially have for the group is quickly thrown out when their bombing campaign injures innocent people. Due to several members of the group having died in their mission to steal weapons there is turmoil within the group afterwards. Some are questioning one another whether it is wise for them to carry on with their leader blind. It’s obvious that a spy from one of the other armies in the Four Seasons Society has been placed in the Winter Army to report back to Year on what they’re doing. In the end the small ragtag band of rebels decide to take matters into their own hands and bring their own brand of chaos to the streets of Tokyo which sees them setting off bombs all over the city. It is unsure whether these become suicide attacks or not but there are these little hints in the dialogue between the members that they intend to bow out in a blaze of glory. Wakamatsu shoots these bombing attacks in quite a frenzied style to highlight the mayhem that is taking place.

Ecstasy of the Angels screenshot

This is a well put together and somewhat arty movie by Wakamatsu which has it’s fair share of sex and violence. It’s no surprise given his tag as being one of the pioneers in the pink-eiga genre that there are numerous gratitious sex scenes in the movie which may offend some people. They’re hardly erotic and most of the scenes has the couple partaking in sex spouting some revolutionary claptrap to each other. The problem with these sex scenes as well is they interrupt the flow of the movie just as something interesting is happening and the momentum of the previous scene is lost by it. The viewer will also notice a rather apparent spelling mistake during the group’s mission to steal the weapons. As they come to the bunker where the weapons are stored there a sign above the door that says ‘Weapons Wearhouse’! Who knows whether it was a deliberate mistake or not?

Many critics have pointed out this movie is similar in style to the early works of French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard. Having only seen one movie of his (À bout de souffle) I’m not in a position to agree with them or not. The movie is mostly shot in B&W but ocassionally it switches quite unexpectedly to colour. I did like this technique by Wakamatsu. The acting by the cast is decent enough but nobody in my mind really stands out.

Ecstasy Of The Angels isn’t one of Koji Wakamatsu’s best movies. It has it’s moments but too much of this movie is interrupted by the frequent sex scenes which doesn’t serve any purpose to the plot.

No trailer but here’s the opening scene for the movie:

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Maki is the leader of the girl gang The Black Pearls who are always getting into some sort of trouble, mostly by fighting rival Yuri and her gang. A perverted monk gets swindled of 6 million yen after being seduced by Maki and then she settles the score with Yuri one final time in a challenge to unify both gangs. Maki wins it. Unbeknown to Maki, the cheated monk and Yuri have joined forces with one of Kyoto’s strongest yakuza groups. The head of the group sees an opportunity to use Yuri’s girls as prostitutes in order to make money which isn’t what Yuri had in mind when joining up with them but she has no choice but to obey. The head also wants Maki’s Black Pearls as prostitutes too. Maki gets romantically involved with Yuri’s ex-boyfriend Eiji who has a score to settle with the yakuza boss. When 2 of Maki’s cohorts steals a car with a briefcase full of illegal guns, the yakuza gang race to the scene and capture Maki. The other 2 girls manage to escape. The yakuza torture Maki before Eiji comes to the rescue but in the beating they give him he loses an eye thanks to being smacked by a golf club. Yuji and the rest of the prostitutes take Maki and Eiji before fleeing from the yakuza hideout. The yakuza give chase and during a shootout, Yuri is killed. In a final act of defiance and anger, Eiji takes a long knife and decides to launch a solo attack on the yakuza HQ to try and kill the yakuza boss but fails miserably as he is outnumbered. When Maki hears of his death, she is heartbroken and decides on a revenge mission but will she manage to kill the yakuza boss whilst he is surrounded by his cronies?

This was the 2nd out of the 7 movie Girl Boss pink violence series. This movie stars the delightful Reiko Ike. The plot for these kind of movies is more or less the same barring some tweaks to make it look like it’s different. A girl gang gets involved in one way or the other with a shady yakuza group who wrongs the gang and then it’s a question of trying to get revenge on them. Why change the plot if that’s what made these kind of movies so successful in the first place so you’ll be hard pressed to find a pink violence movie that changes the formula described above that much. There’s plenty of exploitation on show – an example of which is Yuri’s gang shaking up bottles of Pepsi before opening them and spraying the contents up a rival girl’s private parts! Maki herself is stripped and subjected to a nasty beating by bamboo sticks by the yakuza boss. Naturally there are plenty of gratititous nudity shots as was the standard for these kind of movies. They aren’t totally serious movies despite the violence that you get to see and humour plays a fair part which makes them quite fun to watch such as a male diver unexpectedly finding his way into a female onsen all the while ogling Maki and her gang bathing naked whilst he is underwater. His explanation that he is lost doesn’t garner any sympathy with the girls!! There are plenty of incidents happening to make sure the viewer never gets bored with this movie which contains several hilarious cat fights.

Director Norifumi Suzuki’s style is pleasing to the eye and he takes us on a journey into Kyoto’s seedy underworld full of dimly lit bars, dodgy clubs and places populated by the lowlife of society. The acting is top notch especially by the always enjoyable Reiko Ike. There’s a tiny cameo by Miki Sugimoto who would become a huge pink violence star in her own right soon after completing this movie. When you talk about the biggest pink violence female stars of the 70’s in Japan after Meiko Kaji – the names of Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto are synonymous with the genre.

Whilst this might not be the best pink violence movie you’ll ever see, it is still a very entertaining watch and worth a look.

No trailer but here’s a clip from the movie:

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

The 2nd Stray Cat Rock movie follows a group of young adults (C-Ko, Taki, Ganishin, Debo and Jiro) who call themselves the Pelican Club. They’re out for a good time most of their days by hanging out in their clubhouse, pulling scams on American tourists for money, driving around in their buggy but also they’re involved in a small war with a rival gang with skirmishes between two happening regularly. One of the members Taki starts getting some attention from a mysterious girl called Asako who is a horse rider. She suggests a plan to Taki that they should rob the religious cult Seikyo Organisation out of 30 million yen as she’s sick of being the mistress of one of the organisation’s leaders. He consults with the rest of the group that the plan to rob the organisation is possible if they follow his plan to the word. Another member Debo has dug up a stash of old war guns on a school ground which he restores to working order. The guns can be used if necessary in the robbery. Can they pull off this elaborate scheme or will it all end in tears and failure?

This movie seems to be out of place with the rest of the 5 movie series as it’s more light hearted and comedic in its tone and for a pink violence story it is very tame. Another change from the 1st movie was that Akiko Wada was dumped from the regular cast line-up and Meiko Kaji got promoted (not that I’m complaining about that!). Akiko only has a cameo appearance in this movie playing the same motorbike chick from Delinquent Girl Boss. I wasn’t too keen on the changes from the rest of the series if I’m being honest. It felt like the director Toshiya Fujita wanted to do a complete 180 degree turn from what Yasuhara Hasebe had done in the first movie which is fair enough if he wanted to stamp his own mark on the series. This isn’t a girl gang crime movie anymore but more about a mixed group having fun on the beach. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but for myself the Stray Cat Rock series has been about urban grit and this is definitely not that at all. Meiko Kaji and Bunjaku Han are even relegated as secondary characters to the men. It’s probably the first and last time we get to see Meiko Kaji in a white bikini! The mood of the movie does turn slightly dark as the heist goes awry and characters die. I thought it actually got better during the final third. There are a couple of great things I liked such as the use of speech bubbles, freeze frames and fast forwarding in certain scenes but for me this movie was slightly disappointing. Thankfully the next entry in the series Sex Hunter would get things back on track.

All in all, Wild Jumbo is just OK. It’s still entertaining somewhat and with Meiko Kaji’s presence it’s bound to be interesting for her fans but I would probably say it’s the weakest entry in the Stray Cat Rock series. Only average for me.

No trailer for the movie but here’s the first part I found on Youtube….no subtitles I’m afraid.

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Ohyaku Dayu is raised as an orphan when her mother dies by throwing herself off a bridge. Growing up, she makes a living as a tightrope artist where her beauty wins her a legion of perverted fans. She is sold off to the highest bidder after each performance. Ohyaku is rescued from more male lusting by a common thief Shinkuro after a man who works at the Japanese mint called Sengoku wants her all to himself. Shinkuro and Ohyaku find out that they share a common bond in that they wish to take down any greedy bureaucrats who only give a shit about furthering their own career and don’t really care about the poor people. Shinkuro works out a plan to rob the mint and recruits several people to do this. He is warned from going ahead with this plan by the boss of the Otawa clan but nevertheless Shinkuro goes ahead regardless. The plan goes awry when one of Shinkuro’s trusted friend Hyoe Sakaki betrays him and he is captured along with Ohyaku but not before hiding the gold he stole. Both are tortured which can only be stopped if Shinkuro reveals where the gold is hidden. Not being able to watch Ohyaku getting tortured persuades Shinkuro to reveal the hiding place but the only thanks he gets is getting his head chopped off by the guillotine. Ohyaku herself is raped and humiliated by Sengoku and then shipped off to the prison island of Sado where the inmates are frothing at the mouth at getting their hands on a beautiful woman. Ohyaku makes a friend in a man nicknamed The Iron Barbarian who promises to look after her. Ohyaku is made to work in the poisonous gold mines but this is not enough to break her spirit. All the while Ohyaku is planning and scheming a way to escape back to Edo and extract her revenge on those that killed her beloved Shinkuro.

This movie has been named in some quarters as being the very first Pinky Violence movie that came to prominence and popularity in Japan during the early 70’s. It’s certainly got many of the exploitation elements required to be a classic pinku movie. The movie doesn’t contain as much blood and nudity as some of the later entries in the genre but there’s still more than enough here to satisfy the average Pinky Violence fan. Shot in excellent black & white photography and with many attributes one would associate with a typical Japanese period drama, this movie is nevertheless filled with over the top exploitative scenes. While no nudity is on display, the rapes and rape threats are frequent. The torture scenes are pretty disturbing, particularly when Ohayku’s scalp begins bleeding down her forehead as she hangs helplessly above the hot plate-like torture device threatening to grill her alive. Ohyaku’s revenge is slow and her victims don’t go quickly as she wants to torment them first. The movie moves at a steady pace throughout and is always entertaining but things really pick up in the last half hour of the movie. Director Yoshihiro Ishikawa implements a range of interesting and diverse characters into the mix; our central character is a fine balance of good looks and athletic ability and certainly fits the bill for this sort of movie.

Junko Miyazono is superb as Ohyaku. Beautiful but also tough and deadly as well. If this movie was indeed the birth of the Pinky Violence genre, you can definitely see the influence it would have in later Pinku movie characters played by Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto and Meiko Kaji. The concept of an empowered women taking revenge on the male-dominant society was unknown until this movie came along.

If you’re a fan of Pinky Violence movies then watching this should be high on your list to see where it all began. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

A young 17 year old girl Poppo is raped on the rooftop of a 7 story apartment building by four boys and passes out during the ordeal. Whilst this is happening, a nerdy boy Tsukio is watching on expresionless but not intervening. The next morning as Poppo awakens on the rooftop, Tsukio is sitting down close by and they start to talk to each other which is interrupted when the 4 boys return and rape Poppo again and she asks them to kill her but they refuse before leaving. Tsukio and Poppo embark on a strange relationship as they talk about the troubles in their lives. This isn’t the first time for Poppo to be raped and Tsukio himself has gone through a traumatic ordeal at the hands of 4 people. The only difference is Tsukio killed all his attackers with a kitchen knife. Poppo repeatedly begs Tsukio to kill her but he refuses as he won’t kill without a sufficient reason. As day turns to night, the 4 rapists return again to the rooftop with their girlfriends and turn their attention to Poppo once more. Tsukio though is having none of it as he stabs all of them to death. Again Poppo asks how he can kill them and not her. Will Tsukio grant Poppo her wish or not?

This is a depressing tale of rape, revenge, teen angst and being alone. Given that this movie was shot in just 4 days in 1 location on a tight limited budget, what director Koji Wakamatsu has created is nothing short of amazing. The movie is mostly in black and white which is so beautiful but just occasionally there are bursts of color and blue sepia sequences inserted. It works really well when you see it. The subject matter of the movie isn’t the most joyous, in fact it’s really bleak and it doesn’t end on a happy note either which I’m not going to spoil for you. This movie isn’t sleazy as such and the rape scenes aren’t too graphic but the violence when it happens is brutal. The 2 main stars are fantastic in their roles and Mimi Kozakura as Poppo is naked for a lot of the movie’s 65 minute running time.

Go Go Second Time Virgin is an interesting pinku/art house movie with a fresh take on loneliness that I recommend.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

The movie tells the story of a female petty criminal who becomes involved in international intrigue while searching for the sister of a man she saw murdered in a gambling den, as well as the gangsters responsible for murdering her father during her childhood.

One of the best Japanese pinky violence movies from the 70’s. This movie is unique in so many ways. Reiko Ike is just gorgeous as the heroine Ocho and one will never forget seeing her totally naked fighting off some men with a sword. Then you’ve got another beauty in Christina Lindberg who acts as a British spy. Blood sprays, body parts fall and the snow is sprinkled with red on more then one occasion. Its pretty obvious this movie was also a heavy influence on Tarantino for Kill Bill. The cinematography is amazing, the fight choreography is well done, the acting is very good, the sets are elaborate, and the plot is tight and well thought out.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »