Two Japanese men help a Vietnam war deserter escape from Japan for Sweden. They plan to fund the escape by selling LSD pills. After word of the drug deal gets spread around they find themselves fending off rival gangs.
After being cruelly set up and deceived by Sugimi (Natsuyagi Isao), a conniving and crooked detective she had whole-heartedly fallen in love with (and subsequently lost her virginity to...), Matsushima Nami's desire for revenge knows no bounds. Her failed attempt at stabbing Sugimi on the steps of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Headquarters results in her doing hard time in a female prison run by sadistic and horny male guards. To Sugimi's surprise, Matsushima refuses to testify against him and his connections to the mob, and now the sheer fact that she knows such secrets makes her a liability. So Sugimi and the Japanese mafia orchestrate a plan whereby Matsushima will succumb to an "accidental" death in prison. They enlist the help of Kagiri, another female inmate with ties to both Sugimi and the mafia, thus their formidable plan is quickly set in motion. Little do they realize, however, how hotly Matsushima's desire for revenge burns within her. Written by
Violent, sick, cruel, and completely sadistic what more could I ask for? Starring Meiko Kaji, who would go on to the Lady Snowblood films the next year, this women in prison movie simply dazzles. Ito's direction is fantastic, and in some ways resembles that of Suzuki Seijun. It's funny that such great filmmaking is found in a w.i.p. movie, a sub-genre usually reserved for sloppy, direct-to-video work today. Just think, a direct-to-video movie really could be well made. There is an unfulfilled market here. Yet people just keep cranking out the same cliched garbage an utter waste. The genre in America is too tame when you look at FP701. Actually, I'd almost say that this comes close to being the best prison movie ever made, approaching masterpieces like Don Siegel's undervalued Riot in Cell-Block 11 and Stuart Rosenberg's beloved Cool Hand Luke. Hell, Prisoner 701 makes Cool Hand Luke look like a total pussy. This movie is an absolute must-see for those who love Japanese films, exploitation, or cult movies in general. I'd go so far as to call it a masterpiece in its own way. I loved every damn second of it! 10/10.
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