Genre: Sex, Sex, Sex and a Whole Lotta Fury
review in one breath
After witnessing the murder of her father at an early age, Ocho has dedicated her life to avenging her father's death. She was left with only three clues, the images of a wild boar, a deer and a butterfly. When she eventually unlocks the mystery behind the killers' identity, it leads her down dark halls of, well, SEX and FURY.
This film is truly a classic within its genre and is generally proclaimed such by almost all reviewers. There are only a very few films I have reviewed which merit a "must have" rating when it comes to additions to your collection, but this certainly makes that list (if your collection dares include "breast and blood" films.)
In essence this is a classic yakuza revenge motif chocked-full of naked sexuality and violence accomplished by the wholly effective character "Inoshika Ocho" played by Ike Reiko. Although the early 1970s saw a plethora of tough girl films, this film (and a few others) really sets itself apart from the others in terms of quality narrative and character development.
The title "Sex and Fury" is a wholly Western contraption which emerged at nearly the time of the film's production. This immediate export to the West was primarily due to its casting of Christina Lindberg, a rising star of Swedish descent who at the time was being splashed on the covers and screens of some the most popular European erotic-horror of the decade. Following initial popular successes in European erotic films, she appeared in two Toei productions of which this is the first. Indeed this film showcases her as if she were some extraordinary wide-eyed Western jewel (with a great rack).
The original Japanese title (Furyo anego den: Inoshika Ocho) is literally translated "Delinquent Elder Sister: Inoshika Ocho". The term "delinquent" (furyo) will appear in several of the subsequent films in the genre. "Inoshika Ocho" refers to the name of the leading female character.
One thing the English subtitles won't divulge is that the main character's name, Inoshika Ochou, is a composite of the three "animal" clues she received as a child. "Ino" refers to "inoshishi" or "wild boar"; "Shika" is a deer; And "(o)Chou" means butterfly. The fact that Ochou has taken on such a name for herself underscores the wholehearted determination she has cultivated to track down and avenge her father's death.
On their way to a celebratory visit to the local shrine, a young girl witnesses the murder of her father, a Tokyo police detective. With his last remaining breath, the father holds out a clue as to the identity of his assassins; three gambling cards depicting a wild boar, a deer and a butterfly.
Fast-forwarding 18 years (to Meiji Era, 1904) the young girl is now a street-wizened woman able to support herself through criminal skill and seduction. She now goes by the name Inoshika Ochou and seems intent on an inner mission. Her true purpose comes to light following an encounter with Kurokawa, an idealistically driven young man intent on bringing down the corrupt politicians responsible for his father's demise. Kurokawa recounts to Ochou the story of his father's business and the false charges brought against him. In order to cover their tracks, yakuza thugs had killed a police detective 18 years ago as he carried evidence which would have divulged the true criminals and thereby proven his father's innocence.
This overlap of personal histories, knowing that her own father was the detective of Kurokawa's story, provides the desperately needed clue in her desire to track down her father's assailants. When she eventually discovers that one of Kurokawa's targeted politicians sports a large deer tattoo on his back, she quickly moves into action.
Her path brings her face to face with sword-flailing yakuza mercenaries, a leather-clad whip-weilding female British spy (Christina Lindberg), and a convent of sado-masochistic knife-clenching nuns. And that's ONLY THE BEGINNING!!!
This is truly a remarkable film on several levels and clearly deserves its place as a genre leader. The soundtrack alone is excellent and the tune will be stuck in your head for a week, simultaneously evoking images of the fierce-eyed Ocho, bloodied sword in hand.
The amount of sex here is quite copious and erotic, though much centers around the classic Japanese fantasy of "forced seduction" (where "no" ultimately means "yes" and tears give way to moans). Beyond the sex is the nudity quotient (NQ), a quotient which was likely created simply to account for this film. The violence is not extreme, though often bright red and flowing freely, while the (very) few whipping/BDSM scenes were undoubtedly quite shocking to the film's first audiences.
Though the content here is mature, the film as a whole comes across very effectively and is thoroughly satisfying as a dramatic, cutting-edge yakuza-themed revenge tale. Director Suzuki Norifumi really distinguishes himself here, as does lead actress Ike Reiko, who went on to star in several similarly bold films, including this film's sequel Female Yakuza Tale.
Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD available at all mainstream venues.
|A very effective film which defined a new genre of "Bad Girl" yakuza sexploitation films.||Plenty of bright red flowing blood and sword play. One scene of whipping.||Ample amounts of naked breasts and copulation. And let's give an awed round of applause to these guy's dedication to sheer foreplay!.||Very cool and memorable film. I will be adding this to my personal collection.|