Very Sleazy, Very Very Violent And Even More Awesome!
As an enthusiastic fan of Japanese exploitation cinema from the 70s I was full of anticipation to see Yukio Noda's "Zeroka no onna: Akai wappa" aka. "Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs", and the film certainly deserves its cult status. "Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs" is an extremely violent and sleazy exploitation gem that even surpassed my expectations. The film which stars the ravishing exploitation goddess Miki Sugimoto as the eponymous heroine, is explicit from the very beginning. Gory murders, rapes, tortures and all kinds of sleaze and sexual violence are omnipresent in the film, and yet the film has way more to offer than only gore and sleaze, as it is immensely stylish and brilliant in all respects. The incredibly sexy Miki Sugimoto is great in the lead, as Rei (aka. Zero Woman), a beautiful female undercover cop who is assigned to infiltrate and eliminate gang of sadistic and perverted criminals who have kidnapped the daughter of a prominent politician... I will not go into detail any further, as I don't want to spoil any of the fun, but I can assure that "Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs" is a must-see for every fan of Japanese exploitation cinema.
The film is based on the manga comics by Tooru Shinohara, who also created the manga series that the brilliant "Joshuu Sasori" (aka. "Female Prisoner Scorpion") films are based on. The film has a delightfully black sense of humor, and an enormous level of sleaze and violence, even for Japanese 70s exploitation standards. The camera work is excellent and the supporting cast includes several familiar faces for Japanese cinema fans, such as Tetsuro Tamba, or Yôko Mihara, who is known for her female bully characters, most prominently in Shunya Ito's exploitation masterpiece "Joshuu 701-gô: Sasori" aka. "Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion" (1972), the first of the brilliant 'Sasori' films. The funky score in "Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs" is also very good, even if it admittedly resembles the score of the 'Sasori' films a lot, especially the theme song performed by star Miki Sugimoto is very similar to the Sasori-theme 'Urami Bushi' sung by Meiko Kaji. The great Toei Company released quite a number of excellent exploitation films in the 70s, and "Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs" is one of them. A bunch of new Zero Woman films, none of which I've seen so far, were released in the 90s, but they can't possibly reach the greatness of this 1974 original. "Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs" has everything great exploitation cinema needs, lots of sleaze and female nudity, an enormous dose of violence and gore all brought to you with immense style, and a super-cool and stunningly beautiful heroine played by the sexy Miki Sugimoto. In short: This is exploitation-gold and an absolute must-see for all lovers of cult-cinema! Awesome!
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