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A ruthless pack of thugs force mild-mannered, caught-in-the-middle-of-something-bigger Nami to murder her fiance's sister, decidedly ruining her pending marriage and landing the poor girl ... See full summary »
New Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701 is pretty much on the back foot from the start given that it's given the task of following up Shunya Ito's original series; and the knee jerk reaction is simply to pass this film off as a phoney entry in the series. While that is understandable, and somewhat justified, this 'new' Female Scorpion film is a fun viewing and will surely not disappoint anyone who liked the original. It does have to be said that this is just basically a cash in; several things from the original series are lifted wholesale and the film could even be considered a remake of the original. Once again we focus on Nami Matsushima. This time she has a sister who goes missing and after getting too caught up in doing something about it, our innocent heroine is given a fifteen year sentence for a murder she didn't commit. She's sent to an all women prison where she's not exactly welcome. Her fellow inmates torture, humiliate and try to kill her; but the Scorpion prevails long enough to get some justice.
The unenviable task of following up Meiko Kaji falls to Ryôko Ema and while she doesn't fit the role quite as well; she certainly does at least give it justice and turns in an excellent leading performance. The fact that this film is just a reshuffling of the events of the first film will no doubt annoy some fans of the series; but there's enough originality in there to ensure things are kept interesting and director Yutaka Kohira lays on the style. He doesn't lay it on quite as thick as Shunya Ito did with the original, but the film certainly has plenty of verve and there's no shortage of standout scenes. There's some good all girl fight scenes, as well as plenty of torturing, humiliation and general chaos to keep things interesting. One of the most memorable things about the original was the use of colour. This one doesn't have quite so much of that, but there are still some very beautiful scenes. It's all topped off by a catchy theme tune and plenty of bloodshed. The ending won't come as a surprise to anyone who has seen the original; but even so, this is a good watch and I do recommend it.
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