Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reiko Ike And Her Tattooed, Blood Splattered Breasts Are Back!

My intention with this blog is to review and express my opinions on the many films that I watch. I have never done anything like this before and after decades of staying up late at night and watching underground horror and exploitation films, often alone, I felt that this could be a good medium to convey my life long adoration and love for these films. It will also be a very much appreciated outlet that will save my girlfriend, whom I watch many of these films with nowadays, from the incessant ramblings of a uber film nerd. Frankly, I have no one else to share the excitement of analyzing cinema that most, if they're even aware of it's existence, might enjoy viewing these films but find it unimportant, ridiculous and sometimes even appalling. And while in some cases these viewpoints may be entirely valid, I can still find redeemable elements in even the most vapid of films. Thus, here I am. I watch a great deal of films on a weekly basis and plan to write on the films that I watch from here on out. Whether it's a new film to me or a revisit to my ever growing library of debauchery, I intend to share this experience and my opinions within the confines of this blog. Also, I encourage feedback and correspondence about the various topics and films I hope to discuss. If any inquiries should arise please feel free to contact me about my posts. And so without further adieu...

Over the past two years now I have been researching and seeking out many of the Japanese films that belong to the pink film genre, or pinku eiga, and the Roman Porno genre. I was first introduced to these genres at a couple of film festivals in LA years ago and was amazed at the sheer boldness these films exhibited. The excessive violence, near pornographic sex, and subversive content that they all seemed to share was surprising to me considering the time period in which they were made (late 60's through to the 80's). Not to mention the obvious influence that they had on directors like Quentin Tarantino, Shinya Tsukamoto and Takashi Miike to name just a few. My knowledge of Japanese cinema at the time was limited to ultra violent horror films like the Guinea Pig series, Entrails of a Virgin, Naked Blood, etc. and I enjoyed the works of filmmakers like "Beat" Takashi Kitano, Kei Fujiwara, and Takashi Miike. So the introduction to the beginnings of this type of Japanese film making was was greatly welcomed and appreciated.
Now, two years and dozens of films later, the viewing of these early Japanese exploitation films still retains all of their potency to me. A few days ago I purchased Female Yakuza Tale-Inquisition and Torture which is the sequel to one of my all time favorite Japanese sexploitation films, Sex and Fury. Now the rule of thumb with sequels is generally not to get your hopes up because they very rarely live up to their predecessor, right? I mean, you already know the characters and their background and essentially you're trying to recapture that experience you first felt for whatever reason. Well, I know the reason Sex and Fury had quite the impact on me upon it's first viewing. I was overwhelmed with the fully nude female sword fights, the nun knife fights, the bondage and torture in a church and ultimately the combining of two of the world's most beautiful and celebrated exploitation actresses in their respected countries: Japan's Reiko Ike (Terrifying Girl's High School series) and Sweden's Christina Lindberg (Thriller: A Cruel Picture). Now how am I to believe that Female Yakuza Tale would be able to rekindle my affection for Sex and Fury when Christina Lindberg is completely absent from the sequel? What are they going to do, show me another Reiko Ike nude sword fight? YES! Within the first two minutes, at that!
The fact is Female Yakuza Tale is by far one of the best and most entertaining entries of the genre that I have seen. The sequel takes Reiko Ike's character from Sex and Fury, Ocho, and throws her into a psychotic story complete with bad-ass drug smugglers, heroin-addicted drug mule prostitutes and probably twice the amount of sex and violence the first film presented. Director Teruo Ishii beautifully captures both of the essential motifs present in this genre of sex and violence with almost seamless precision. While Ike's performance solidifies her status as one of the greatest performers in the genre. From the amazing sword fight striptease intro to it's epic climax with what seems like an army of blood splattered breasts and swords galore, Female Yakuza Tale-Inquisition and Torture is exactly the reason I keep coming back to this genre!