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    Takuma
    Senior Member

  • Takuma
    replied
    Originally posted by AngelGuts View Post
    Takuma, interesting takes on the HK films, Takuma.

    My disagreement is with your IN THE LINE OF DUTY 3 comments. I think the action, with the exception of the first scene, is extremely stylish and inventive: the fashion show massacre/shootout; the brutal fight in the warehouse; the sex scene with the Japanese couple where male's hair comes out because he has cancer.
    Part 3 actually used to be my favourite. I still have the old HK DVD though it must be more than 15 years since I've last viewed it.

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  • AngelGuts
    Senior Member

  • AngelGuts
    replied
    Takuma, interesting takes on the HK films, Takuma.

    My disagreement is with your IN THE LINE OF DUTY 3 comments. I think the action, with the exception of the first scene, is extremely stylish and inventive: the fashion show massacre/shootout; the brutal fight in the warehouse; the sex scene with the Japanese couple where male's hair comes out because he has cancer.

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  • Randy G
    Senior Member

  • Randy G
    replied
    TCM showed a quite good but dubbed print of Crippled Masters last night. Sounds like it will be getting a BD release.

    Leave a comment:

  • mjeon
    Senior Member

  • mjeon
    replied
    I am glad that you are broadening your scope. I look forward to more HK reviews from you.

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  • Takuma
    Senior Member

  • Takuma
    replied
    Originally posted by mjeon View Post
    Takuma, have you moved? Are these Japanese blu-rays? Do they have English subtitles?
    No, I have not moved. Those are the 88 Films and Vinegar Syndrome BDs.

    https://mvdshop.com/products/in-the-...dition-blu-ray
    https://vinegarsyndrome.com/products...-kong-volume-1

    Leave a comment:

  • mjeon
    Senior Member

  • mjeon
    replied
    Takuma, have you moved? Are these Japanese blu-rays? Do they have English subtitles?

    Leave a comment:

  • Takuma
    Senior Member

  • Takuma
    replied
    Yes Madam (Hong Kong, 1985) [BD] - 3.5/5
    Largely comedic “second” (but filmed and released first) In the Line of Duty film is redeemed by an insanely good action finale. The climax is master class in stunts and film editing. What comes before is not that bad either, with Tsui Hark and the boys providing some amusing comedy and Michelle looking very cute, but it is the climax that makes the film.

    Royal Warriors (Hong Kong, 1986) [BD] - 3/5
    Popular “first” (but filmed and released second) In the Line of Duty film comes with solid action and a cool synth score, but lacks unforgettable scenes. Worse yet, the drama is the dullest in the series and Michael Wong is at his most annoying. Kudos to having Japanese characters speak Japanese, but the dialogue, as performed by Hong Kong voice actors, comes out heavily accented and there are even bits of complete gibberish.

    In the Line of Duty III (Hong Kong, 1988) [BD] - 3/5
    The most violent and even sexiest entry in the series (thanks to Michiko Nishiwaki spending a few seconds topless during a sex scene); unfortunately a bit lesser than its predecessors in terms of film making craft. Action is explosive enough, but captured without the kind of stylish lensing and great editing that Yes Madam had. Cynthia Khan is quite alright as the new lead: she's cuter than Michelle Yeoh but a lesser action performer. The Japanese characters are all dubbed in Cantonese this time, which was probably for the best.

    In the Line of Duty IV (Hong Kong, 1988) [BD] - 3.5/5
    Ridiculously action packed fourth film won't win any awards for screenwriting or acting, but it does deliver fights and stunts in spades. Yuen Woo Ping may even have raised the action bar a bit too high as there’s an unusually high number of shots where Cynthia Khan is only filmed from behind (stunt double?). Donnie Yen’s scenes are not affected by this, and he delivers one of the series' highlights with the famous rooftop fight with Michael Woods.

    Erotic Nightmare (Hong Kong, 1999) [BD] – 2.5/5
    Anthony Wong dreams of schoolgirls until the dreams bite him in the ass. Late 90s CAT III film delivers what the title promises, but something seems to be missing. Perhaps it’s heart, as odd it may sound. The film comes out somehow cold and mechanical compared to the more spirited early 90s Hong Kong madness. That being said, it’s still a passable film.

    The Demon’s Baby (Hong Kong, 1998) [BD] – 2.5/5
    Uneven period piece horror with an army general’s concubines bearing demon babies. It doesn’t really take off until the last half an hour when it turns into a mad sfx showcase whose makers must have been inspired by Rob Bottin’s work in The Thing. Until that, however, the focus is on a romantic plot involving two poor servants. Anthony Wong appears in a Mr. Vampire / Lam Ching-ying type priest role. Also worth nothing is that despite starring Elvis Tsui as sex maniac army man, the film is free of any on-screen sex or nudity, and carries a CAT II rating.

    Deadly Camp (Hong Kong, 1999) [BD] – 1/5
    A bunch of annoying teens camp on an island inhabited by a chainsaw wielding maniac and his annoying son. This frustratingly amateurish slasher, often referred to as Hong Kong’s Friday the 13th, does absolutely nothing right. The film is ineptly shot, the characters are nerve-wrecking, the violence takes place outside of the frame, and there’s not even nudity beyond one very brief scene. This was, in fact, a CAT II film. Anthony Wong appears briefly in an extended cameo.

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  • Takuma
    Senior Member

  • Takuma
    replied

    The Japan Derby Race (日本ダービー 勝負) (Japan, 1970) [Streaming] - 1/5
    Junya Sato's epic dud covering 40 years of Japanese horse racing history, based on real life jockey and trainer Tokichi Ogata. I was willing to give this film some slack because it’s obviously not one aimed at me (I couldn’t care less about the topic). But when the film climaxes with a dozen back to back horse races (shown as live TV footage), taking almost all of the film’s last third, you can't help but to wonder had Sato gone insane? Even pink films don’t have sex scenes as plenty and prolonged as this film’s horse racing parts. Tatsuya Mihashi stars, with Ken Takakura, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Bunta Sugawara, Tatsuo Umemiya and Junko Fuji in supporting bits, none of them getting nearly as much screen time as the damn horses.

    Thugs of Shinjuku (新宿の与太者) (Japan, 1970) [Streaming] – 3/5
    This lightweight gangster movie is probably most notable for possibly being part of the Modern Yakuza series. Most sources nowadays consider it the 3rd movie in the series, and Toei producers and directors have given comments along these lines. However, the series title is nowhere to be found in the film or any of its Japanese promotional materials (any titles found in English language databases with the Gendai Yakuza / Modern Yakuza header are made-up). There is even a self-referential joke in the film when the main characters come out of a movie theater and spot a poster for this film, Thugs of Shinjuku. The poster actually states “Screening next: Thugs of Shinjuku - The 1st film in a new Bunta Sugawara film series”. It’s one of the many humoristic scenes in the film that set this apart from the more seriously minded entries that preceded and followed. Title debates aside, this is a harmless and perhaps forgettable film that however quite nicely captures its era and locations on film. The violent climax for instance is set on a bustling city street in broad daylight with Sugawara navigating between thousands of ordinary people as he chases a rotten yakuza boss. And when the last drop of blood has been shed, Bunta’s charming amateur ballad “Juku no yotamono” plays to bid us a farewell. Most of the film may not fare that well, with Bunta leading his comical gang of good-for-nothings through a routine plot, but one doesn’t feel like being too critical on the film when it has such charming bits in it.

    Note 1: The Japanese title Juku no yotamono is actually more consistent with the first two films, Gendai yakuza: Yotamono no okite and Gendai yakuza: Yotamono no jingi than with the next two, Gendai yakuza: Sakazuki kaeshimasu and Gendai yakuza: Chizakura san kyodai.

    Note 2: The last film in the series was Fukasaku’s Gendai yakuza: Hitokiri yota (Street Mobster). It was followed by Hitokiri yota: Kyoken san kyodai (Three Mad Dog Brothers), which despite being a sequel is not considered part of the Modern Yakuza series.

    Note 3: Thugs of Shinjuku is the only one of these films that Toei has not released on DVD. It’s also the only one that isn’t airing on Toei Channel whereas the rest are frequently aired back to back.

    Note 4: Though Shinjuku no yotamono would be the orthodox reading of the kanji title, it’s actually Juku no yotamono as per the accompanying furigana.



    Father of the Kamikaze (あゝ決戦航空隊) (Japan, 1974) [DVD] – 4/5
    Long, detailed, and engaging World War II docudrama focusing on Takijiro Onishi, the father of kamikaze warfare. Toei and Toho had already produced loads of kamikaze melodramas in the 60s through early 70s, but few (if any) had the massive scope of this. A product of the jitsuroku yakuza film era, this is essentially Battles without Honor and Humanity the war film edition, detailing the entire war from start to finish, from each strategic decision to the devastating end. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was also written by the same man as Battles without Honor and Humanity, Kazuo Kasahara. It’s also a controversial film for it taking the point of view of the men who believed in kamikaze warfare, which makes it both interesting and potentially objectionable depending on how you see it. Regardless, Koji Tsuruta is terrific as Onishi, a man who is burdened by his decision to sacrifice thousands of lives yet stubbornly believes it’s the only way to go. Akira Kobayashi is solid as his close ally, and Bunta Sugawara excels as extreme nationalist who is even more devoted to continuing the war than his superiors. The rest of the cast features just about every big name from Noboru Ando to Hiroki Matsukata, Kinya Kitaoji, Tsunehiko Watase, Ryo Ikebe, and many more.

    Old Military Arts of Japan (武道ドキュメント 剣豪の祭典) (Japan, 1974) [Streaming] – 3/5
    "We are witnessing a martial arts boom. Where did it come from?" asks the narrator at the beginning of this theatrical Toei martial arts documentary, which was released in the middle of Toei's karate film boom and frequently re-uses music from those films. The documentary covers notable Japanese martial arts from Okinawa Karate to Ninjutsu, Kendo, Shorinji Kenpo, sword fighting techniques popularized by the Lone Wolf and Cub series, and even firearms. None of it comes with very much depth, and the film was obviously an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of martial arts films and further promote them, but it is not without value. Various martial arts masters, from Shorinji Kenpo founder Doshin So to Japan Karate Association’s Masafumi Suzuki (who also frequently appeared in Toei’s karate films) and a supposedly 102 year old Okinawa Karate practitioner are brought in front of camera for interviews and martial arts demonstrations. We also get street interviews with random high school girls to find out if they’ve seen Bruce Lee films (some have, yes). All in all this, this is quite a passable and certainly more down-to-earth exploration of the topic than Toei's later, outrageous The Karate Professionals (1976). The film is not ruined with excessive length either, running only 45 minutes. It was released theatrically as a double feature with the 3.5 hour war film Father of the Kamikaze.



    Festival Champ (お祭り野郎 魚河岸の兄弟分) (Japan, 1976) [Streaming] – 3/5
    Norifumi Suzuki made this largely forgotten film between the 2nd and 3rd Truck Yaro films. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it feels a lot like them, only without trucks. Hiroki Matsukata is a fish market worker and a fanatical Japanese festival rascal. He also falls in love with a stripper while delivering his colleague's love letter to her but forgetting to mention it's from another man. As stated, this shares a lot with the Truck Yaro series, from festivals to the mix of drama and comedy (like many Suzuki films, it can accelerate from silly comedy to teary melodrama and then bounce back to laughs in a matter of minutes or even seconds). But the lack of action, save for a number of fist fights, and memorable characters make this a lesser affair. Dead fish are a poor replacement for Dekotora, and there’s nothing to rival the Sugawara & Aikawa pairing of the trucker films. The supporting cast does come with a couple of big names in minor parts, most notably Koichi Iwaki and Etsuko Shihomi, whose Fifth Level Fist was the supporting feature for this film in theatres. Speaking of Shihomi, it’s a real shame she never got cast in any of the Truck Yaro films: she'd have made a great rival driver for Bunta.

    A Cheerful Yakuza (愉快な極道) (Japan, 1976) [Streaming] – 2/5
    A loose follow-up to Tomisaburo Wakayama's popular but not particularly good action comedy series “Scoundrel”. This was a theatrical release, but feels more like a television film which may have been a symptom of the era: by 1976 the days of no holds barred genre films were starting to be over. Perhaps most baffling is that this isn't really a yakuza film at all, but instead a humoristic human relationship drama about taxi driver Wakayama whose daughter is about to get married. It is said Toei president Shigeru Okada was trying to go after the success of Shochiku’s Tora-san series, and this film was the result. It’s not until halfway into the film that Renji Ishibashi walks into the picture as blackmailing yakuza scum and introduces a bit of conflict leading up to an action scene near the end. And there lies another key point: “near the end”! The film does not end after that action set piece, like any 60s Scoundrel film would, but instead goes on for another 10 full minutes with family drama. Now, the most insane thing about the film was its release: it seems to have premiered as part of a triple bill with Female Ninjas: In Bed With the Enemy and Virgin Breaker Yuki II: Western Licensed District making a completely mad mix one coffee table drama and two adult films into a triple bill that no one under the age of 18 could see.

    The Karate Professionals (世界最強の格闘技 殺人空手) (Japan, 1976) [TV] – 3/5
    A ridiculous karate documentary helmed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi as one of Toei's last domestic martial arts productions of the 70s. There had been a slightly more down to earth martial arts doc called Old Military Arts of Japan two years prior, but now in the waning days of the karate film boom it was time to drop all pretensions and facts. The film follows the walking definition of violent machismo, the All Japan Professional Karate Association founder and part time Toei performer Go Otsuka as he faces challengers and trains his skills. Right at the beginning we are treated a nasty bit of (partially staged?) animal cruelty as Otsuka kills a wild boar with his bare hands. Not to be outdone, another fighter finds a viper in the grass and bites it to death. Looking after the fighters is the association's own certified doctor ("You've got three broken bones. No worries, they’ll heal in no time."). Much of the film is built around ring fights which cut to flashbacks showing the fighters honing their skills (e.g. why settle for running up and down stairs when you can run up mountains and have a fight at the top with whoever happens to be there). At the end of the film Otsuka travels to Hong Kong (where he's almost instantly attacked by half dozen kung fu fighters), Malaysia and Nepal, proving no one in Asia can neither match not assassinate him. This "documentary" is obviously to be approached with some reservations, but for fans of 70s karate films and true account cinema that blurs the line between truth and blatant lies there's 74 minutes of bone-headed, mostly staged fun to be had. Content wise it's not far from Yamaguchi's fully fictional films as far as the fights, performers, over the top narration and partially (or fully?) recycled Shunsuke Kikuchi score go. As documentary, it’s probably an accurate depiction of the mindset many of these fighters had.

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  • Takuma
    Senior Member

  • Takuma
    replied
    I've always considered The Great Chase my least favourite Shihomi film. Too goofy and the action choreography is the weakest of any Shihomi film IMO. I've seen the film on DVD as well as in 35mm, and it always feels underwhelming. Strange considering I love Suzuki, including all of his other martial arts films.

    Dragon Princess, 13 Steps of Maki and Sister Street Fighter are my favourite Shihomi films, probably in that order.

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  • BW Haggar
    Senior Member

  • BW Haggar
    replied
    I really like 'The Great Chase'!

    In fact I think it might possibly make my top 3 of films in which Etsuko plays the lead (alongside '13 Steps of Mako' and the first 'Sister Streetfighter').

    My recollection is that it starts off pretty much like a family friendly action-adventure movie, then suddenly this maniac in a bear suit is clawing up naked girls with a huge nazi flag in the background, and... "oh yeah - Norifumi Suzuki directing - figures".

    I agree the fights are a bit lacklustre and poorly edited (a problem I increasingly have with a lot of Toei's mid-'70s action films TBH; maybe I've just been spoiled by watching all that great HK stuff recently?), but the crazy stunts and general zany charm more than make up for it in this case (the cable car scene is pretty awesome).

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  • Jason C
    Senior Member

  • Jason C
    replied
    The Great Chase (Japan, 1975) 6/10

    This is close to being amazing. Etsuko Shihomi is adorable as always. It’s hilarious the way she plays master of disguise in this film, while being a secret agent/racecar driver. Why not, right? Its also fun seeing many of the familiar Toei faces, especially Eiji Go. And while this film is Shihomi being adorable, there is plenty of reprehensible sleaze taking place around here. Like a few of her other films it provides a weird shift in tone that I really dig. You have politician raping girls while wearing a bear costume (or maybe a rodent). A young woman is tortured by being placed in a knight’s suit-of-armor and, in a really cool scene, Etsuko knocks it off with a sword. Nuns are transporting heroin in a coffin so we get a nude girl’s corpse getting cut open. This is classic 70’s Toei sleaze. All this while Shihomi is runnoig around playing Scooby Doo. Where it falls down is the fight choreography. Etsuko does have some cool jumps and moments but hits rarely come close to connecting. It’s very distracting and heart breaking. That said, the finale where Etsujko has bombs going off around her in a mine is amazing. It’s one of her coolest stunts and I feared for her safety. And during that scene I belly laughed when one of the main villains blew up. Its bonkers. This is a fun film that will be well worth revisiting.

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  • Takuma
    Senior Member

  • Takuma
    replied
    Nikkatsu x 6

    Sea of Youth (aka The Black Sheep) (青春の海) (Japan, 1967) [Streaming] – 3.5/5
    Young female teacher Sayuri Yoshinaga relocates to a small seaside town with her runaway little sister, but their new life is complicated by hoodlum-like Tetsuya Watari (the black sheep of the title) who is related to the family hosting them and whom they keep running into, but can't help but to feel sympathy for. Of course, rumours start fast in a small town, but delightfully she doesn't really care at all. This is another very solid Shogoro Nishimura film, although it doesn't reach the heights of his best youth films like Return of the Wolf and Goodbye Mr. Tears. What this one does really well is capturing the idyllic small town scenery and atmosphere, as well as the usual good girl Yoshinaga x misunderstood tough guy Watari (who really excelled in these type of roles) romance formula. There's also some pretty fun interaction with the locals, particularly a middle school kid who comes to school with a noisy bike and even offers to give shocked/annoyed Yoshinaga a ride home... and she accepts, as she can't think of any other way to try and tame him. It's cute and unexpected little bits like that that give the film a welcome breath of fresh air and youthfulness.



    Whirlwind of Love (恋のつむじ風) (Japan, 1969) [Streaming] – 3.5/5
    A very entertaining Nikkatsu youth / romance / comedy with Chieko Matsubara as a young woman getting cold feet in her own wedding in Hokkaido. She flees to Tokyo with best friend Meiko Kaji, leaving dumbfounded groom Ryotaro Sugi alone on the altar trying figure out what the hell just happened, and who was that woman brought in by Kaji who claimed to be expecting his child? The film gets even more fun in Tokyo where Kaji (nicknamed “the hip”) and second friend Teruko Hasegawa (“the bust”) introduce good girl Matsubara (“the waist”) to psychedelic clubbing, handsome boys and foul-mouthed high school girls who are constantly talking about sex. I’m not terribly familiar with director Noboru Kaji, who was a long time assistant director at Nikkatsu prior to a brief directorial run in 1966-1969, after which he moved on to television. But this film has fantastic pacing, tons of catchy music, and solid performances everyone, including the always lovely Matsubara but especially the super energetic and mischievous Kaji. She’s only the 4th billed actress in the opening credits, but her role is probably the 2nd biggest in the film, and she’s an absolute delight on screen. Also kudos to whoever was responsible for her fashion in the film, which ranges from crazy wigs to street clothing similar to what she’d be wearing in the Stray Cat Rock films a year or two later.



    Women’s Police 2 (続女の警察) (Japan, 1969) [TV] – 1.5/5
    “There are 15 000 hostesses in Ginza” says Akira Kobayashi in the opening scene of this film, and assumes responsibility of looking after them. Of course, he isn’t that much of a white knight himself but a hostess recruiter with better morals than some of the shadier figures in the night. This is a good looking film, as you’d expect from a 60s Nikkatsu picture, but not much of interest happens in it. Kobayashi recalls tragic past, helps a few hostesses harassed by chinpira, and does tons of talking. The setting is similar to Toei’s Youth of the Night and Song of the Night series, but without the sleazy / desperate / opportunist protagonists usually played by Tatsuo Umemiya in those two series. Kobayashi in turn makes a too mild mannered main character for this type of film. Only the ending packs some punch (or rather, electricity). This is of course also a sequel to the original Women’s Police, which I saw a long time ago from a fuzzy 16mm print. My recollections of that film are as fuzzy as the print was, but I don’t think there was much to remember besides Meiko Kaji’s brief topless scene. Here we get no topless Kaji, or Kaji at all in fact.

    Women’s Police: Appointment with Danger (女の警察 国際線待合室) (Japan, 1970) [TV] – 2/5
    A marginally better sequel with Yuji Tanno replacing Mio Ezaki as the director. This is not much different from the dull part 2, except for the entertaining last reel which features Kobayashi and Eiji Go kicking some gangster ass. What precedes it is the usual uninspired fare, with Kobayshi investigating the case of a kidnapped hostess in the surprisingly dull (and cinematically unexploitative) if good looking nightlife world.

    Women’s Police: Swirling Butterflies (女の警察 乱れ蝶) (Japan, 1970) [TV] – 3/5
    Gangster film veteran Keiichi Ozawa takes over directorial duties in the 4th and best film in the series. The premise is largely the same as before, with lone wolf Akira Kobayashi both a hostess / night life operator and a sort of guardian angel for the women, but with more emphasis on yakuza and other shady figures leaving dead women floating in the port waters. Kobayashi once again has to catch guilty party. Kobayashi's performance here is his best in the series, aided by solid direction and a decent scrip script, finally radiating those "lone wolf in the night" vibes that didn't come through so well in the previous films. He's a man who fights gangsters and looks after hostesses without taking advantage of them, a superior man operating above basic sexual desires despite being a questionable figure of the night himself. Perhaps that's what audiences resonated enough with to come see these films one after another, even though they are almost void of sex, nudity and action (*). Here in addition we also get Ozawa's noirish direction paired with absolutely breathtaking production design, which certainly makes for an easy viewing. This was the last film in the series consisting of four movies, unless one counts Market of Women (1969), which is sometimes considered to be part of the series.

    * This series was of course far from being the only one of its kind. There were so many similar films, not only by Nikkatsu but also Toei who did the Song of the Night series for example, that they could be considered a genre of their own. They were typically set in night life / fuzoku districts full of bars, hostess clubs and shady figures, telling bittersweet tales of young adults longing for a better future, and characterized by neon-lit visuals and pop ballads that often inspired the storylines.



    Violent Gang Overcome (暴力団・乗り込み) (Japan, 1971) [TV] – 2/5
    It’s always good for a yakuza film to have at least one original scene that hasn't been done to death in the hundreds of other similar films. This one has two. The first comes when Akira Kobayashi is holding one of Toru Abe's hoodlums as human shield and then very casually decides to set his hair on fire! Wow! The other one comes at the very end, but it is better left unspoiled. Unfortunately those two scenes are pretty much all this contemporary Nikkatsu gangster film has going for it. Made during the brief Dainichi era (a distribution joint venture between Nikkatsu and Daiei, both of whom alone struggled to deliver the industry standard of two new feature films every two weeks for a double bill) before Daiei's bankruptcy and Nikkatsu's Roman Porno switch, it still sports stylish production design and a big name cast (hero Kobayashi, reckless pal Eiji Go, lone wolf Rinichi Yamamoto, and no real reason to be in the film Meiko Kaji). But it lacks energy and emotion, and resorts to the kind of dry, talkative and corporate-like depiction of the underworld that doesn't give the viewer much reason to care. The ending is good at least.

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  • Jason C
    Senior Member

  • Jason C
    replied
    The title "E-Cup Real Action Take Two: Rich & Ripe" got my attention :). Happy to read that it delivers on the title. Here's hoping it pops up somewhere where I can check it out.

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  • Takuma
    Senior Member

  • Takuma
    replied
    Peach Coloured Cinema

    I've been catching up with Nihon Eiga Senmon Channel's Momoiro Cinema on TV (an airing slot for theatrical pink films from 80s through early 2000s, many of them award winners or otherwise notable works from acclaimed directors).

    E-Cup Real Action Take Two: Rich & Ripe (鍵のある風景 Eカップ豊熟) (Japan, 1989) [TV] – 2/5
    Late 80s existential pink cinema with a bit of auteur touch by Toshiki Sato, one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Pink. He’s here working on his only second film, but already dealing with the same human relationship themes and societal focus that would be found in many of his later films. Unfortunately the film doesn’t have quite enough storyline to carry over the excessive sex scenes, despite interesting thematic and some inspired moments like the opening and closing shots. The E-cup breasts promised in the title admittedly deliver. “Landscape with a Key” was Sato’s original title for the film, but that obviously got changed for something more commercial by the studio. Reviewed here is the R-15 version Kagi no aru fukei: E-kappu hojuku, which doesn’t seem to have an English title and which may, but is unlikely to, differ substantially from the original theatrical R-18 version. It appears to have some shots in sex scenes re-framed at least.

    Lascivious Nurse Uniform Diary: Two or Three Times, While I'm Wet (白衣の告白 新人看護師日記) (Japan, 1997) [TV] – 4/5
    Mitsuru Meike's absolutely delightful theatrical debut film is 90s Japanese micro-philosophical indie drama at its near-best, hidden under a completely ridiculous pink film title. The film follows lone, limping nurse Mariko Yoshioka who has little interest in men until he meets a geeky movie sound recorder (sort of like John Travolta in Blow Out, except less cool and instead of capturing an accident on tape he stumbles over a bridge railing and breaks his own leg). What ensues is a cute semi-romance that constantly steers away from pink clichés. There's a scene, for instance, where the guy shows up in front of her house at night and sees her dancing (fully clothed) in her room. But instead of barging in ripping her clothes off, he just starts dancing alone outside (very badly). When she finally notices him and invites him in, he misunderstands and leaves like a gentleman. There are several more charming little scenes showing characters doing their everyday things, of course accompanied by her narrator voice. The music choices are at times wonderfully off-beat, the cast is surprisingly good, there is no sex in hospital, the movie look beautifully filmic, and finally, the ending is a total feel-good send-off. Also, the film is damn well edited! On the negative side the film cannot escape some excess sex, but even those scenes are very tolerable and un-sleazy. Reviewed here is the R-15 version Hakui no kokuhaku: Shinjin kangoshi nikki, which doesn’t seem to have an English title and which may, but is unlikely to, differ substantially from the original theatrical R-18 version Hakui inran nikki: Nureta mama nido, sando. There is no mosaic or noticeable cuts.



    Just Like Starting Over (美容師の恋) (Japan, 1998) [TV] – 3/5
    Mitsuru Meike’s 2nd theatrical pink film isn’t quite as charming as his 1st, but it’s still a quirky relationship drama with solid acting and several uplifting scenes. The unusual premise sees a socially inept fireman (Yoji Tanaka) save two drunken one-night lovers (Yumeka Sasaki and Yota Kawase) from a burning love hotel. The fireman falls in love with the girl, who has no memory whatsoever of the night or her hotel partner. The guy on the other hand tries to track her down and contacts the fireman, leading to an unexpected friendship, only the fireman can’t tell him he knows the girl since he doesn’t want to break up with her. Compared to Meike’s previous film, this movie has more sex and a less cute female cast, but it’s still a somewhat heartfelt film where you genuinely care for the characters. It’s worth noting leading actors Tanaka and Kawase would both go on to extremely prolific mainstream careers, while Sasaki would remain an in-demand pink actress for directors who needed someone who could actually act. Reviewed here is the R15 version Biyoshi no koi, which doesn’t seem to have an English title and which may, but is unlikely to, differ substantially from the original theatrical R-18 version Gushonure biyoshi: Sukebena kahanshin. There are no noticeable cuts, though I did spot two subtle instances of blurring which may or may not already have been in the R18-version.

    Uzuku bijin tsuma: Shujin no inu ma ni (疼く美人妻 主人の居ぬ間に…) (Japan, 2001) [TV] – 2.5/5
    A suicidal homeless man assumes a dead doppelganger’s identity, and to his own surprise is greeted with open arms by the latter’s wife. He eventually begins to suspect his own existence. Shinji Imaoka’s pink film about disconnected people. Interesting premise, but like many pink films of its kind it doesn’t quite feel fully realized. It does have its merits however, from interesting thematics to unusual opening (how many pink films start with the main character trying to kill himself?) and leading lady Mayumi Sawaki’s figure. Reviewed here is the R-15 version of the film, which may but is unlikely to differ substantially from the theatrical R-18 release which went under the title Nureru bijin tsuma: Hamerareta onna. Neither version seems to have an English title.

    Hitozuma boutique: Joji o tanoshimu onnatachi (人妻ブティック 情事を楽しむ女たち) (Japan, 2002) [TV] – 3.5/5
    Director Osamu Sato's debut film. This could've been another pink film to be dismissed and ticked off the list after the first 15 minutes, but instead it ended up being an almost thoroughly engaging affair. The film follows a young working wife (lovely Mayumi Sawaki) who married a monster suit actor (think of small size Godzilla) who lost his working ability soon after marriage and she now has to support the two of them by herself. She's also got a younger bed partner, though she hasn't stopped loving the slacker husband either. There are some terrific scenes in this one, particularly those detailing the pre-marriage romance between her and the man in the monster suit, as well as a solid enough present day narrative that you’ll want to stay till the end to see what happens to these two people. The best scene comes near the end, an absolutely wonderful rainy day encounter that echoes of 1990s Takeshi Kitano magic, and also features Sawaki delivering the most heartfelt bit of acting that you’d never expect from an AV performer gone soft core actress. Of course the film also has some supporting character sex thrown in to meet the shagging quota, but it's handled with a light and humoristic touch that makes it less intrusive than usual. Reviewed here is the R15 version Hitozuma boutique: Joji on tanoshimu onnatachi, which doesn’t seem to have an English title and which may, but is unlikely to, differ substantially from the original theatrical R-18 version Hitozuma boutique: Furinna mashitagi. There is no mosaic or noticeable cuts that I could spot.

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  • AngelGuts
    Senior Member

  • AngelGuts
    replied
    Thanks once again, Takuma, for zooming back with a bunch of amazing reviews.

    I'm really fixated (have been for a while) on seeing Brotherhood's Honor and Humanity: The Truth About Kanto Life.

    Chivalrous Woman: I Request Shelter
    sounds fascinating, too.

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