What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Film Reviews and Release Comparisons
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HungFist
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby HungFist » 04 Dec 2017, 15:28

chazgower01 wrote:Reiko Ike has a small role as a henchman's wife, who gets offered up to a wrestler as a prize. Luckily for her, he doesn't last to take advantage of it, and it seems she finally has a role (albeit an incredibly small one) where she keeps her clothes on. But no, she's later offered up to another henchmen, doing an unasked favor for Shono, and he roughs her up during sex. How bad is it that I've seen so much nudity and torture from an actress that I actually would welcome seeing her in a non-exploitative role?


I don't think Ike ever did a movie where she kept her clothes on. She wanted to, hence she agreed to do Black Panther Bitch M for Nikkatsu in 1974 when they promised her there would be no sex scenes. She then got all paranoid during filming when they had re-written a scene to be shot in a hotel room and she was sure they're gonna have her do another sex scene. She insisted the scene to be shot in a "safer location" on a rooftop. She still ended up topless in that scene, though.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby HungFist » 04 Dec 2017, 15:29

Outlaw: Heartless (無頼非情) (Japan, 1968) [BD] - 3/5
Part 3 in the Outlaw / Gangster V.I.P. series. Another solid entry with the usual mixture of knife fights, loyalty conflicts and romantic tones. This time Watari, who is nursing a fallen yakuza's widow, runs into a childhood friend (Ryuhei Uchida, excellent as usual) whose wife is the sister of Watari's enemy, while also trying to keep a young woman (Chieko Matsubara again, in a different role than before) hopelessly in love with him at bay for her own sake. There's quite an enjoyable 60s Nikkatsu Action feel with slick visuals, nice soundtrack and Yokohama locations. The main problem with "Heartless", and many other Japanese 60s gangster films, be it Nikkatsu or Toei, is that after a couple of hundred entries in the genre the formulas had become so predictable the audience could see some twists and character deaths coming miles away. That is, to an extent, the case here as well, although there are some scenes that play against the expectations.

The Young Animals (皮ジャン反抗族) (Japan, 1978) [DVD] - 3/5
Yasuharu Hasebe took a break from the Roman Porno series to do this biker youth / disco film for Toei Central. And what an opening it has! Hiroshi Tachi on a bike. Cut to a disco where he tames a Nikkatsu runaway girl gang (Yuri Yamashina with razor blades, Natsuko Yashiro). And then he goes all Travolta to "Funky Disco Princess" on the dance floor. Tachi was one of those rock stars turned actors who were better screen performers than you'd expect (Yuya Uchida, who also happens to be in the film, is another). His youthful looks combined with charisma a strangely suffering look on his face made him perfect for playing melancholic punks. This was his first starring role after a couple fine supporting turns (e.g. Classroom of Terror, 1976). The film is basically Rebel Without a Cause meets Saturday Night Fever done in the Japanese youth film genre, fun and colourful, but ultimately lacking in characterization, and perhaps also missing the final punch on the tech side. Aiko Morishita has a small supporting role with no bare skin on display.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby chazgower01 » 05 Dec 2017, 01:48

HungFist wrote:
chazgower01 wrote:Reiko Ike has a small role as a henchman's wife, who gets offered up to a wrestler as a prize. Luckily for her, he doesn't last to take advantage of it, and it seems she finally has a role (albeit an incredibly small one) where she keeps her clothes on. But no, she's later offered up to another henchmen, doing an unasked favor for Shono, and he roughs her up during sex. How bad is it that I've seen so much nudity and torture from an actress that I actually would welcome seeing her in a non-exploitative role?


I don't think Ike ever did a movie where she kept her clothes on. She wanted to, hence she agreed to do Black Panther Bitch M for Nikkatsu in 1974 when they promised her there would be no sex scenes. She then got all paranoid during filming when they had re-written a scene to be shot in a hotel room and she was sure they're gonna have her do another sex scene. She insisted the scene to be shot in a "safer location" on a rooftop. She still ended up topless in that scene, though.


I so much want to see that!

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby chazgower01 » 06 Dec 2017, 03:41

Doberman Cop (ドーベルマン刑事) (1977) Amazon Prime - 3/5
I was looking to buy this and saw it was watchable for free on Amazon Prime... 10 minutes into it and I was hooked!
Shinichi 'Sonny' Chiba plays a country bumpkin cop who shuffles into town (complete with straw hat and live pig!) to investigate the death of a girl he grew up next door to that had moved to the big city and was apparently murdered. Of course, the city cops think he's a goofball, and directly laugh at his methods, convinced the murder was committed by a serial killer who is on the loose.

Chiba makes a friend early on though, when he takes his pig to a strip club and the stripper (Eiko Matsuda) isn't offended by the filthy animal, but rather lets her manager deal with it, while she pulls Chiba on stage and has sex with him! That's not what makes him famous though, he repels off the side of a building to crash through a high rise window and save a hostage (it's on TV and the newspapers the next day) - but it turns out the hostage is the girl he's looking for!

Having taken on a new name, she is under the management of a yakuza, who is trying to make her famous as a singer. She has a big televised talent show coming up, but her nervousness (as well as her drug problem) threaten to get in the way.

And who does director Kenji Fukasaku get to play the yakuza, but the always reliable Hiroki Matsukata (Cops vs Thugs) who struts and snarls his way through the role as if it's the only one he was born to play.

But there are other colorful characters in it... the police chief, the renegade cop, the pot head biker gang, the strip club manager... always something going on to keep you entertained in this movie. It's not art, but it is a lot of fun! Chiba may be a country bumpkin here, but he's not afraid to kill whoever gets in his way. And the action fighting has just enough of a dose of Chiba's angry fists to make it all worth seeing!

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby chazgower01 » 08 Dec 2017, 13:37

Quick-Draw Okatsu (Yôen dokufu-den: Hitokiri okatsu) (1969) DVD 3.5/5
Junko Miyazono returns in this NOT-a-sequel to 1968's Ohyaku: The Female Demon (a B&W semi-classic that is considered an early influence to the pinky violence genre), as a wronged female swordswoman out for revenge. I would imagine this is even more of an influence on the genre as well, with the bright colors, torture, rape, attempted abortion, over the top bad guys, and even a very young looking Reiko Oshida (20 years old) as a spunky short skirted ninja-girl. No nudity, or spraying blood, but a whole lotta people get sliced up.

Okatsu (Miyazono) is a sword-master, respected by the community and loved by her samurai training father. But her brother Rintaro (Masaomi Kondo) just wants to be a farmer, and runs away with his hidden lover, who is pregnant. This starts a chain of events leading to the local bad guy Shiozaki (Kenji Imai) having the father beaten, tortured and killed while he rapes Okatsu. Though neither is that graphic, you can see both happening at the same time, and it has a weird, shocking feel to it.

Even though she escapes, everyone she runs into turns out to be an evil, manipulative swindler; except for Reiko Oshida's adorably cute ninja girl, who kinda shows up here and there, for reasons unexplained, to help slice up people. Her short sword skills are surprisingly entertaining, especially compared to Miyazono, who, despite the role, isn't that great with a sword. Tomisaboro Wakayama (Lone Wolf and Cub) shows up late as a bounty hunter to really put on a display.

The second of three unrelated films (all starring Miyazono), and an early influence for the pinky violence genre, it's an enjoyable revenge flick to see.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby HungFist » 10 Dec 2017, 14:44

Outlaw: Goro the Assassin (無頼 人斬り五郎) (Japan, 1968) [BD] - 3.5/5
Part 4. Watari runs into old enemies while searching for his dead pal's (Tatsuya Fuji) sister. Add a veteran assassin suffering from guilty conscience, a likeable young hood hopelessly in love with a waitress but affiliated with the bad guys, and Chieko Matsubara (once again) as an innocent woman who falls for Watari, and complications begin to arise. Stylish and well acted entry, doesn't stray far from the standard formula but features a couple of slightly unusual turns, such as regular villain actor Asao Koike playing a relatively decent character. The use of locations is excellent, and there are a couple of magnificent sequences such as the pier scene near the end. Very enjoyable.

Outlaw: Black Dagger (無頼 黒匕首) (Japan, 1968) [BD] - 3/5
The 5th film in the series, and also the 5th entry released in 1968. Such pace was exceptional even by the Japanese genre film standards of the time. Like most yakuza films made in the 60s, the "Outlaw" films were formulaic, and what often distinguished a fine film from a mediocre one was not originality but its ability to avoid potentially frustrating drama scenarios. This is where "Black Dagger" stumbles a bit with its "evil yakuza bullying people who can't or won't to fight back" plot. On a positive note, that does make seeing justice eventually happen - in the film's extremely well staged knife fights - very satisfying. The main character, well played by Watari, also has grown so sympathetic by this point that he alone could carry the films given the plots were even half-decent. Also worth mentioning is Kunie Tanaka, an actor who often played gangsters, as a yakuza-hating doctor in this film.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread postby chazgower01 » 12 Dec 2017, 02:50

Story of a Prostitute (春婦伝 Shunpuden) (1965) Netflix DVD 4.5/5

Shot in Black and White and mostly under appreciated when it was released, Story of a Prostitute is the middle film in Seijun Suzuki's prostitution trilogy (1964's Gate of Flesh and 1966's Carmen from Kawachi), though none of the movies are related to each other, except that Yumiko Nogawa is in each of them.

Here she plays the hot blooded Harumi, who gets jilted by her lover and then decides to sell her body to the troops on the war front in China to get away from her past in Japan. There she meets the sadistic Lt. Narita (Isao Tamagawa), who doesn't even take a shining to her - he just sees her as the best available body - and when she talks back he lets her know her place.

To get him back she seduces his obedient and loyal lap dog of a page, Pvt. Mikami (Tamio Kawaji), but she ends up falling deeply in love with him. His loyalty to his service to Japan gets in the way, but he gives in somewhat because of the passion Harumi shows - both the beauty and at times ugliness of it.

This movie has a great deal of contrasts that Suzuki wants to show us - the strict code of the military and yet their sneakiness to cover events that might make their unit look bad - the hatred Harumi feels for the abusive Narita and yet the surprising way she is shown to have sex with him - the feelings she has for Mikami and yet the quickness with which she attacks his stubborn refusal to go against his 'superiors'....

Of course, they're doomed from the start... and where I thought it might end, and didn't... and where I thought it might get a bit too preachy, but instead gave us an even more tragic and sad, yet fitting ending. The story and the style of this make it a great film, during Seijun Suzuki's greatest directing era.

It DID however, also feature another sneak peek of BUSH - completely taboo in Japanese cinema at the time - during Harumi and Narita's first sexual get together...this is no HINT of it... this is full frontal!

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-UVElWc91Pts/Wi824OmMnKI/AAAAAAAAG2Q/X7D9YlcAI_IoK2YxfbbCA7EAeyhwM7XOgCLcBGAs/s1600/SOAPro005.jpg


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