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Nami, a young woman, is released from the prison after serving 3 years for killing a man. She becomes a hostess to support a sick woman thanks to whom she was released before her term. While trying to manage her own life and helping the sick woman she becomes involved in a Yakuza scheme to take over the bar she works for. She has to use her wits and skills at pool table to save the bar and her own life. Written by
Wow....I was so completely indifferent to this one and that really surprised me.
I have seen Meiko Kaji in several films, including her "Lady Snowblood" films. They were very stylish and never dull. Here in "Wandering Ginza Butterfly", however, I was shocked by how little I cared for the movie. The biggest problem is that nothing particularly happened for the first 90% of the film and the finale just wasn't enough to save it. And, too often, story points just seem to lead no where.
The film begins in prison where Kaji is incarcerated. However, oddly, the film turns out NOT to be a prison film. It's also odd when later a cell-mate appears and then disappears quickly and nothing comes of this! As I said, the film has several subplots that just seemed to fizzle. One interesting aspect of the film, however, was when you learn WHY Kaji's character was in prison and how she deals with making amends for her wicked past. I would have liked to see more of this and why this plot was in a film that essentially becomes a revenge film is odd.
As for most of the rest of the film, lots of low-lifes from the Ginza district of Tokyo make up the movie. While you soon assume that all this will lead to a big showdown with the leader of the Owada clan, the film meanders a bit getting there. There is even a lengthy tense snooker match (snooker?!) that, in the end, NOTHING COMES OF IT! And, soon after, Kaji OUT OF NO WHERE becomes a killing machine along with her male friend. To me, there are just a ton of plot points tossed together haphazardly--and in the end it all boils down to a good old fashioned kill-fest. One that begins with a really, really fake looking rubber hand being stabbed.
If it sounds like I didn't like this film very much, that is correct. I wanted something like Kaji's MUCH better "Lady Snowblood" films but all I got was a dull film with a plot that seemed in need of some editing and polishing.
By the way, the next film in this series has almost nothing to do with "Wandering Ginza Butterfly"! It's not great but it is certainly a big improvement.
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