For those unfamiliar with the original Scorpion (Sasori) films of the early 1970s, you may want to start here for background..
For the rest of you, get down on your knees, put your hands together, and THANK G*D I am willing to watch this stuff so you don’t have to.
This film is directed by Gotoh Daisuke whose other films include Zero Woman (1995) and Zero Woman: The Accused (1997). It is therefore safe to assume that Gotoh has a penchant for nipple-filled crime drama. So one day he comes up with a GREAT idea. It probably happened something like this:
- Gotoh: Hey Gotoh!
[inner child: Now what??!]
Gotoh: I think we should remake the Female Convict Scorpion film, placing Matsushima Nami in a contemporary setting.
[inner child: I STRONGLY recommend against this..]
Gotoh: Hell, how about a foreign contemporary setting like 1997 Los Angeles?
[inner child: … ]
Gotoh: Yeeeaahhh! I can see it now! And let’s make Nami a petite, suburban Interior Designer wearing high heels!!
[inner child: We are going to HELL.]
Matsushima Nami is here played by Saito Yoko whose only other (likely) recognizeable film role is in Miike Takashi‘s Salaryman Kintaro (1999). Here Saito plays the young woman Matsushima Nami who is wrongly accused of the death of her fiance, Sugimoto (played by the ubiquitous Sugimoto Tetta). The circumstances surrounding the death of Nami’s 1997 boyfriend are quite different from those of the original’s 1972 boyfriend (whose name was the eerily similar Sugimi), but by and large, these two tales play out in pretty much the same way, even down to Nami’s everlasting (and painful!!) effect on one of the warden’s eyeballs. (!)
But let’s be honest. The appearance and aura of the modern Saito Yoko ranks nowhere near that of Revenge Queen Kaji Meiko. With Kaji at the helm, the transformation of an innocent, betrayed woman into an ice-cold and formidable demon was truly plausible, due vastly to her acting ability and steely-eyed countenance. Saito, on the other hand, carries no such aura and thus neither carries the audience into believing she could possibly accomplish what we see her here doing. The fact that the original Scorpion films and other exemplars of Japan’s early 1970’s “bad girl” genre were successful predominantly through the presence and plausibility of the lead actresses is something every audience member intuits after watching these, and is thus clearly something director Gotoh should have known when casting the role of his modern day Matsushima Nami. But this reality seems to have been lost on Gotoh, who instead opts for an ineffective, buxom, doe-eyed heroine.
And so Gotoh here presents you with a film in which there will not be one moment wherein you (or I) believe that Saito-Nami is remotely capable of the fetes she is here attributed. Except, perhaps, her oft-repeated nude gyrating/copulation scene which (apparently) symbolizes her pre-prison bliss/naivete. That scene, I admit, I simply choose to believe. heh.