The Scorpion's Swan Song... Another terrific installment.
The sixth and final entry in the successful "Female Prisoner 701: Scorpion" exploitation series of the 70's, but only the second one referred to as "New" because it doesn't star Meiko Kaji in the titular role. The first four films are famous, acclaimed and worshiped by genre fanatics all over the globe (righteously, I may add) whereas the last two remain completely overlooked and even neglected by DVD distributors so far. Unrighteous, very much so even, because they too are still vastly superior W.i.P movies with plenty of action and suspense, vivid sleaze and diabolically villainous characters. The first four films admittedly were more experimental and benefited from more consistent direction and acting performances, but the plots of "New Female Prisoner" and "Jailhouse X" are involving and exhilarating enough for you to forgive the shortage of style elements and imagery. Once again, Nami is provided with an entirely new background story of how she ended up in prison and became a deeply embittered woman. The film opens with Nami getting escorted back to the isolation cell after a brief but inciting escape. The other prisoners hate her for all the extra punishment she caused and the head warden loses his job and gets replaced by a young and violent new one. Nami desperately wants to escape in order to have her revenge against the hospital director she used to work for (as he ruined her life and happiness) and so she reluctantly teams up with the previous head warden for another spectacular escape. "Jailhouse X" doesn't feature any groundbreaking new themes or surprising plot twists, but the script is coherently written and fully focusing on offering as much action as possible. Even in his second directorial effort, Yutaka Kohira doesn't risk experimenting with camera angles, color schemes or picture compositions, but at least the action sequences the interior ones as well as the exterior ones are masterfully staged and exciting. There are sleazy images, too, but the wholesome remains very tasteful. If you want W.i.P films with loads of nudity and lesbianism, check out the Italian movies instead of the Japanese. I sincerely hope the "New" Female Prisoner movies will soon receive proper DVD-releases as well, as I'm sure they would appeal to fellow cult-cinema/exploitation fanatics.
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