Matthew Brady promised me that Female Yakuza Tale would be good, and he was pretty much right. The sequel to Sex and Fury it’s got a different director, Teruo Ishii, who largely ignores telling a coherent story in favor of extravagantly gratuitous violence and sex. High points include a prostitute hawking and blowing a wad of snot down the throat of a guy trying to sneak a surreptitious peek; the moment when female swordswoman Ocho is about to cut off the fingers of gambler Big Tiger, and Tiger’s wife begs Ocho to spare his middle finger as a favor between women (the wife waggles her own middle finger suggestively); a character named Yoshimi of Christ who declares “When I pray, I kill”; and a final battle scene involving gaggles of women fighting nude — especially the moment where a bunch of them beat their former rapist to death, and then piss on his corpse. It’s all done with cheerful insouciance — there’s never a moment where you feel like the filmmaker actually thinks he’s imparting a moral or elevating lesson (as there is throughout Lady Snowblood: Lovesong of Vengeance for example. (There is one moving scene where, in flashback, a 17-year-old Ocho is caught cheating at cards; she is about to have her finger cut off, but a big crime boss intercedes, and offers to allow his own finger to be chopped in return. Then he tells Ocho to go forth and sin no more…but, and this is kind of the best part, in some sense, she does actually spend the rest of her life as a professional gambler. So much for life lessons.)
Where was I? Oh, right, no moral center. Also, it doesn’t have the grim rape-revenge intensity of Scorpion/ It’s almost parodic in its offensiveness — the mood almost seems within hailing distance of something like Toxic Avenger, though this is infinitely cleverer and better made. I enjoyed it pretty thoroughly. I may well have to try to find more movies by Teruo Ishii. Any recommendations as to what I might look for next?