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Nanda Van Bergen,
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Big budget exploitation effort is a little too sloppy to praise
Big budget exploitation effort from Shaw Brothers is a little too sloppy to be praised, but it's a decent time waster. It is bizarre to see softcore Scandinavian sex siren Birte Tove ("Bedroom Mazurka", "Bedside Dentist") in a key role as prisoner/Red Cross envoy Jennifer. Ms. Tove gets beaten around a lot in this violent WIP (Women In Prison) flick and reveals more than her fine legs.
In fact, director Chin Hung Kuei appears to be obsessed with women's legs and underthings. Hardly a moment goes by that we aren't looking up a fallen prisoner's dress or watching another poor soul have have clothing torn off by an evil Japanese officer.
There is a confusing plot concerning hidden gold and some anti-Japanese propaganda, but the main focus of this exploitation epic is rape, beatings, catfights, escape attempts and torture. It's all done with tongue in cheese at times and is usually too extreme to be taken seriously. Though the film does have a TF Mous vibe at times (reminding this viewer of "Lost Souls" in particular), Mous's shocking exploitation classic didn't hit cinemas until 1980, six years after this was produced.
The film's scope is quite wide and events in the third act move to rural and coastal locations outside the central prison set. The climax is rather ludicrous and totally illogical, but by then, exploitation fans will have gotten their money's worth, if not any food for the brain.
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