|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Joe Ma's much anticipated remake of the 70s Toei "Pinky Violence" series "Joshuu 701 Go Sasori" (aka Female Convict Scorpion)is a disappointing, silly and goofy film that tries to be a cool "Kill Bill" wannabe but instead comes off as a poor man's comic heroine revenge fantasy. Among Japanese exploitation film fans Ito Shunya's 1972 "Joshuu 701 Go Sasori", a live action adaptation of the 70's manga (comic) series which ran in the Japanese Adult Manga Magazine Big Comics, is still considered one of the best of the genre. While much of that was owed to mesmerizing star Kaji Meiko, Ito's dark and gritty cinematic style gave the film a haunting and almost surreal quality and seemed to define the violent and bloody Toei films of the time. Ito and Kaji would make two additional sequels (Hasebe Yasuharu helmed the third sequel with Kaji). After Ito and Kaji left the series, several inferior remakes followed including Gotô Daisuke's (Sasori in U.S.A) and Niimura Ryoji's (Sasori: Joshuu 701-Gô). The series even spawned a number of similarly themed Toei "V-Cinema" direct to video stinkers including 1994's "Joshû Shokeinin Maria/Prisoner Maria". Ma's entry is just the latest attempt to retell the story of Matsushima Nami, a beautiful woman falsely accused of a terrible crime and sent to spend the rest of her days in the most vile of prisons, becoming a victim to a number of inhuman cruelties only to escape to get revenge on those who framed her. This version however has the unique distinction of being a Hong Kong/Japanese joint co-production (setting the story in Hong Kong) and utilizing the talents of beautiful stunt woman/martial artist Mizuno Miki who is more than capable in filling the role. Mizuno (who gained fan boy fame in films such as "Senrigan", "Hard Revenge Milly" and "My Lover Is A Sniper" is a bit of an oddity in Japan. She is a good actress, who is lithe and comely and whose physicality and martial arts prowess seems more fitting in Tokusatsu TV than in the movies (she's almost like Zoe Bell). Like her predecessors Shihomi Etsuko, Morinaga Naomi and Oshima Yukari, Japanese film makers haven't really known what to do with her. Her inclusion in "Sasori", while inspired seems almost like a gimmick as what should have been a opportune showcase for her to showoff her acting/martial arts talents is circumvented by an outrageous storyline involving illegal cloning/genetic research and superhuman assassins. What should have been a chance to make a 80s throwback CAT III "women with guns" adventure thriller is made more like "Silver Hawk 2". Unlike "Chocolate" whose star JeeJa Yanin was able to showoff her great athletic skills in some truly impressive action sequences, Mizuno seems limited (even hampered) by "wire-fu" gimmicks. While some of the opponents she fights are interesting (including lovely Emme Wong, robotic Sam Lee, and a sinister Bruce Siu-Lung Leung)they really aren't memorable. Dragon lady Peggy Tsang and henchmen Otto Wong seem too over-the-top in their roles and Even Mizuno's romance with boyfriend Dylan Kuo seems a bit stiff and forced with little emotional impact although the ending resolution did come as a bit of a surprise. Simon Yam's cameo was enjoyable but seemed a little strange. The inclusion of Japanese stars Ishibashi Ryo and Natsume Nana also seem more like fan service to prospective Japanese audiences. Ma's film is definitely a nice looking one with a modern, slick look but I would have preferred a more 70s grittier and rougher quality. I can't say that I really hated the film. It was an interesting and stylish remake but I just wish it utilized Mizuno's natural athletic style and been more like a "women with guns" action film. I definitely think Mizuno could be the next Oshima Yukari, Shihomi Etsuko, Moon Lee or Cynthia Khan. Maybe HK producers can consider Mizuno for a new "Sister Streetfighter" remake...that would be a real match made in heaven and far more interesting.
Not being familiar with the original Sasori character, I sat down to
watch this 2008 movie with a clean slate. No prior impressions, no
The movie turned out to be rather okay. Sort of an odd mix of exploitation, girl-on-girl violence and action movie. But it all worked out well enough.
The story in "Sasori" is fairly simple, Nami is forced to kill someone in front of the one she loves and goes to prison. In prison, it is fight-to-survive, and Nami have to toughen up to survive the ordeal. She plans revenge on those who wronged her, and the hunt is on. The story is fairly a no-brainer, as it is just straight out the violence road from the beginning to the very end, which makes this a very easy movie to watch.
Personally, I found it odd that in a Hong Kong produced movie where they speak Cantonese they had some Japanese people on the cast list. Well, that is not what puzzled me, but the fact that even the Japanese actors/actresses were speaking Cantonese (dubbed or not).
The fight scenes in "Sasori" were actually quite good, though at times they were a bit over-the-top, but that is to be expected from Asian action movies.
I haven't seen a lot of movie in this genre, but I found "Sasori" to be rather entertaining. Simple story that allowed you to disconnect your brain and just go along on the mayhem-ride. Fairly average acting, even though there were some fairly good names on the list, such as Ryo Ishibashi, Miki Mizuno and Sam Lee.
Based on a comic by Tooru Shinohara, this movie I believe is the eighth
time this movie has been remade. The more classic Josyu Sasori made by
Toei corporation starred Meiko Kaji. This one starrs Miki Mizuno, and
is a collaboration between Japnese actors, and Hong Kong production.
The story does not follow closely the original Sasori character. It's more of an original creation borrowing the title and the concept from the former movies.Not only does it not follow the original story, this movie is difficult to follow its own story. There are many enemies of Nami Matsushima (Miki Mizuno) that tries to kill her, but story is very fragmented, and difficult to follow. But I was impressed at Mizuno's ability to handle a gritty action. The action sometimes borders on ridiculous. Cinematography, and special effects makes this movie look like science fiction at times. This takes the focus away from the real character of Sasori which originally was about a female convict trying to survive.
So this is not an authentic portrayal of original character of Nami, but an unique creation just for this movie. The HK producers didn't understand the original concept and the movie has turned into more of a HK movie. Many good looking women performs their action, and that's the attraction of this movie. If you are looking for the original Sasori character, this movie will not give, so see it as another HK action movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have watched the movie a second time and decided to rewrite my film
review, upgrading from 5 to 7 for the vote.
It is a difficult film to follow from beginning to end because the Japanese storyline gets lost sometimes with the flashbacks and some ridiculous Kung Fu action. the female violence inside the prison is laughable but actually I can understand it. the setting for the prison inside and outside is amazing.
The fiancée was obviously a bad cop and (if) she (Nami/Sasori) did kill him, she did so because he was involved in the beginning in the killing of his sister. But why really? this is not clear.
revenge is important in this movie. The girl changes her name from Nami to Sasoria (Scorpion) after she has been rehabitated by the Hermit. Her escape as dead from the prison is bizarre but all part of the plan (isnt it?).
then against whom is she taking revenge? And who is the serious guy with the specs? The film is too much hard work to enjoy as an overall movie and Ithink its appeal is strictly oriental for Chinese/thai/Japanese. Much I don't understand about this movie but I have persevered.
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