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.
Matsu, known to the prisoners as Scorpion, is locked away in the bowels of the prison as revenge for disrupting the smooth operation of the prison and for her disfiguring attack on the warden. Granted a one day reprieve due to the visit of a dignitary, she takes advantage and attacks the warden again. This leads to more brutal punishment and humiliation. But the punishment gives her an opportunity to escape along with six other female prisoners. Their surreal flight from prison pits the convicts against the guards, the warden and each other. Written by
More than decent follow up to the masterpiece original
I saw the fantastic Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion recently and was thoroughly impressed by it. Jailhouse #41 is the first sequel to said masterpiece and sees the successful reunion of director Shunya Ito and star Meiko Kaji. I'm guessing that the first film was a big success in its native Japan (and rightly so) as the pair obviously wasted no time in making this sequel, seeing as it was released the very same year! The two films have obvious similarities and follow something like the same plot formula, but the two couldn't be much different in terms of style as while the first film was your 'by the book' women in prison flick, this one takes a more risky approach! The film starts as the last one left off with a scene that sees our heroine Matsu (a.k.a. Scorpion) being tortured by the merciless prison guards - lead by the one eyed guard that Matsu had a hand in disfiguring in the first film. She's brought out of the dungeon to attend the visit of a high ranking official, but after a riot breaks out, Matsu takes her chance to escape along with six other prisoners...
As was the case with the first film, this one excellently straddles the line between trash and art. The story and the action is largely very sleazy, but it's shot in such an artful way that you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise. The sleaze comes mostly by way of character actions and violence rather than nudity - of which there is very little. The film is not as bloody as the first film either, though the focus here seems to be more on surreal hallucinations and the film features plenty! I'm undecided as to how much I liked this element of the film, although the hallucination sequences are largely very memorable and serve in giving the film its own unique style. Meiko Kaji excellently steps back into her role, and this time she is required to look daggers more often and speak less often as she has very few words in the film. She fits the role like a glove, however, and is easily one of the main standouts of the film. The revenge theme goes on throughout once again, and climaxes well (although familiarly) at the end. Overall, I can't say that I liked this film as much as the original; but it's certainly a good follow up and comes recommended to anyone who enjoyed the first in the series.
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