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What Asian Films Have You Been Watching Recently?

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  • Originally posted by lil_hatred_fo_life View Post
    I wish there were more info on v-cinema on the internet seems like the era gets thrown in the trash outside of a handful on flicks , I have a little book on v cinema but there's damn near zero titles in English in the entire book .
    man, I still remember when my local Video Japan was going out of business about 10-15 years ago and they were getting rid of a shitload of V-Cinema titles for $1 each. I ended up buying a big stack just from the covers alone but unfortunately, not long after my ex and I had a bad falling out and I never went back to retrieve the box with them but she probably threw them out or gave them to goodwill out of spite anyway lol


    • man those covers always look cool as hell , i always get tempted to go on buying sprees of random v cinema tapes lol


      • I watched Kung-Fu Killer the other night. Decent enough plot, but the fights would have been so much better without the more obvious bits of wire work.

        My wife put on a Gary Daniels/Kane Kosugi one from Thailand the night after, I missed the title, but it was excellent. Kane is looking for his missing daughter, and Gary is the drug dealer who may know where she is. Good and gritty with plenty of strip club scenes!


        • kemushi recently paid for the translations and timed the subs for Shí´gorí´ Nishimura's Nikkatsu hybrid RP + Sun tribe flick, SEX-CRIME COAST: PIRANHA SCHOOL and made it available a couple days ago. I have it on queue atm but going to get around to checking it out by the weekend. I'm pretty sure @takuma reviewed this one recently, unless I'm imaging things and gave it a really shitty score but I'm a glutton for punishment and the overview at tmdb sounds hype lol

          A gang of no-good youths calling themselves "Piranha" terrorize a seaside community by breaking into rich folks' mansions, stealing and raping everything in sight.


          • Originally posted by 47lab View Post
            kemushi recently paid for the translations and timed the subs for Shí´gorí´ Nishimura's Nikkatsu hybrid RP + Sun tribe flick, SEX-CRIME COAST: PIRANHA SCHOOL and made it available a couple days ago. I have it on queue atm but going to get around to checking it out by the weekend. I'm pretty sure @takuma reviewed this one recently, unless I'm imaging things and gave it a really shitty score but I'm a glutton for punishment and the overview at tmdb sounds hype lol
            Franky I have no idea why anyone would pay for this

            Originally posted by Takuma View Post
            Sex-Crime Coast: School of Piranha (肉体犯罪海岸 ピラニヤの群れ) (Japan, 1973) [VoD] - 1.5/5
            Male and female delinquents dubbed as “Piranhas” (no, not the Toei guys) have sex on beach, take captives in a house, then have sex the house. Hitomi Kozue is the main bad girl getting jealous when shag partner Ryuji Nakamura gets intimate with rich girl Masumi Jun. Dull home invasion Roman Porno with a Sun Tribe flavor and a bit of gang content. Director Shogoro Nishimura merely slaps the genre premises together and proceeds to do nothing with them. Last reel action aside, it's embarrassingly unambitious for an early Roman Porno.


            • Originally posted by Takuma View Post
              Franky I have no idea why anyone would pay for this
              It's all good for me as beggars can't be choosers. I Want him to sub every RP he can get his hands on even the lower quality ones.


              • I recently watched Ricky Lau's 1998 GWG flick, RAGING ANGELS on VCD. Low budget production shot in the PI with a bog standard revenge plot and Roy Cheung typecast as what else but a murdering Triad thug masquerading as a legit businessman. Hilarious that the subtitles refer to him as "Tammy" when it's obviously "Tommy" but butchered English subs are par for the course. The "raging angels" as described in the title are played by Carrie Ng and Jade Leung and they are the sole reason to stick with this putrid movie till the end. Veteran HK action director and part time actor, Yuen Bo (I last saw him in Sammo's THE BODYGUARD) is to be given credit for the finale but this is a turd of a film for 3/4s of its runtime. As mentioned the saving grace is the kinetic finale with the gals going all guns blazin' and kung fu fighting on Roy Cheung.


                • Prisoner Maria x 3

                  Female Prisoner Punisher Maria (女囚処刑人マリア) (Japan, 1994) [DVD] - 2.5/5
                  Largely idiotic, manga-based DTV junk with a bit of exotism. A Japanese warden in Thailand assigns prisoner Maria (singer / actress / hair nudist Naomi Kawashima) to conduct an assassination outside the prison because her profile says "does karate, is dangerous". She needs to be back on time or they'll kill her irritating idiot son. The target is hanging out with some random girls at his pool till one of them turns out to be an assassin. He immediately replaces her with another stranger, Maria, who turns out to be the 2nd assassin of the day. By the evening, he's found himself a 3rd new girl! He just doesn't learn, does he? Luckily for him, Maria is just as incompetent, botching every chance she gets by not pulling the trigger fast enough. It sort of makes sense, Maria being the sweetest looking single mother in the world who doesn't look like she'd hurt a fly. Frankly quite inept, and not convincing in the least, but the film does have a sweet lady in a cool outfit (eventually) killing evil men with guns, knives and bare hands, and somehow you can't help but to be moderately entertained by it all. Bad, but in a sympathetic way. Director Jun Furusho was a contributing writer in the Rapeman series, but this film chaste as a choirboy with no nudity other than a few butts.

                  Prisoner Maria 2 (女囚処刑人マリア2) (Japan, 1995) [VoD] - 3/5
                  This one does a 180 degree turn on the choir boy policy. Full nude body check, sadistic torture and deflowering a virgin with chopsticks are some of the scenes this incredibly sleazy sequel packs into its first 20 minutes alone! Still to come: the most misogynistic assault rifle execution of all time. Maria's target this time is a foreign diplomat's son, a sex crazy gaijin serial killer who just wants to have good time in Japan. And he's played by some bilingual dude Charlie whose acting rivals the wildest achievements of his Hong Kong gweilo brothers. Always fun to see white people portrayed as second to Satan in Asian film. Maria is this time played by idol / singer / actress Aya Sugimoto who has two facial expressions and does one of the most ridiculously bad karate demonstrations in the history of mankind. Her main merit is her resemblance of Reiko Ike. The film is junk, but fast paced and so gloriously politically incorrect that it's good junk. Of course it lacks all the genuine qualities that comparable 70s Japanese cinema had, but as cheap 90s DTV junk you sure could do a lot worse.

                  Prisoner Maria: The Movie (女囚処刑人マリア 劇場版) (Japan, 1995) [VoD] - 3/5
                  Shuji Kataoka's theatrical follow-up to the two DTV films (1994 & 1995). It still feels like video cinema inside out. Busty pop idol (hence the no nudity clause) Noriko Aota takes over the lead role as prisoner assassin for dispatch for the warden (pink veteran Shirí´ Shimomoto). Her target is a politician's son who's been a bad boy (mainly, cutting open young women's stomachs) and needs to be eliminated before he causes too much embarrassment to his mom. Kataoka was the right man for this, a pink director who wanted to be an action director (often producing hybrids, e.g. SM Hunter and Subway Serial Rape). This is sex and violence a plenty, with rapes, gore, gunfights, martial arts (ranging from bad to alright depending on who's performing) and crazy villains. There's a bit of 80s/90s violence anime vibe as well. It's all cheap, yet heaps above modern digi-video garbage. Had Aota gone topless this'd be an easy three, now I award the rating with some reservations. Just a note: a WiP film this is not, lacking the genre shenanigans and, for the most part, the prison.

                  WiP x 4

                  Female Prisoners: Demon of Sex (女囚性欲魔) (Japan, 1976) [DVD] - 1.5/5
                  Tarantino may have made a heist film that doesn't show the heist, but here we have a prison escape film that doesn't show the escape - or the prison. The money, you know. This was directed by Seiji Izumi, who'd later go on make some cool mainstream action films like On the Road (1982), Majoran (1983), and South to the Horizon (1986). The desire for action is evident here as well, the three prison escapees running into rapey gangsters, recalling their violent pasts in flashbacks, and one of them being a sukeban type school girl. But none of that ultimately saves this from being a cheap and somewhat amateurish sex flick. Had I seen this in cinema, I might have had the patience to appreciate it as a product of its era and genre. At home, move on to better films.

                  Female Prison: Lynch (女刑務所 ザ・私刑) (Japan, 1978) [VoD] - 1/5
                  Loving big sister Naomi Oka takes the blame and bails her brother from murder charges, wins herself a prison sex vacation. Cheap Shintoho WiP pinku full of sex scenes and lightweight lesbian nastiness. Minor amusement rises from the prison only employing one guard! Director Banmei Takahashi followed up with three sequels… probably. As per pink film industry conventions, many of them have been re-released under new titles. The sequels should be Female Prison: Pervert (1979), Female Prison: Tight Bondage (1980) and Female Prison: Rape (1981). Assault! Female Prison (1982) is not a sequel, but a theatrical re-release of part 1. Part 2 has at least three different Japanese titles. Also, the series title is “Sukemusho”, an unorthodox reading of the “Onna keimusho” which is what really stands in the poster. They could not possibly have made it more confusing.

                  Female Prisoner: Caged! (女囚 檻) (Japan, 1983) [DVD] - 2.5/5
                  Most Roman Porno sub-genres produced artistic gems; WiP did not. The majority of Nikkatsu's roughly a dozen WiP efforts were barely more representative than the cheap sex films by the smaller pink studios. This Masaru Konuma film is a sleaze fest as well, but directed with impressive professionalism. It's mean spirited yet with small heartfelt moments, convincingly acted (Mina Asami in particular, but the rest are good too), stylishly filmed, and even ends with bit of a punch. Btw, the writer / assistant director on this one was Osamu Murakami, who later helmed one of Nikkatsu's best later day Roman Porno films, the superb yakuza thriller Burai no onna (1988).

                  Joshu 701 go - Sasori gaiden - Dai 41 zakkyobo (女囚701号 さそり外伝 第41雑居房) (Japan, 2012) [DVD] - 1/5
                  Shintoho's second and last pink Sasori, curiously much darker than the 2011 movie. This one pushes the focus more to violence and peril, even featuring some cheap gore effects and boring action scenes, most likely attributable to DTV action director Ken'ichi Fujiwara (Zombie Hunter Rika). But he's little more than an amateur+ at what he's doing, and his attempts at playing homage to the original series materialize as ugly digi-video remakes of three scenes from the first three Meiko Kaji films. The storyline is about Nami on the run, till she gets caught by vengeful female guard who throws her back in Jailhouse 41 (which looks like some abandoned school building… you know, Shintoho production values). Being a pink film, Nami is still a nymphomaniac - a nonsensical contrast to her ice cold, speak-none, need-none characteristics. Flavour of the month AV-girl Tsukasa Aoi replaces the previous film's space monster Asuka Kirara as the lead. Marginally better than the 2011 film.


                  • The Yagyu Chronicles 8: The One-Eyed Ninja (柳生武芸帳 片目の忍者) (Japan, 1963) [TV] - 3.5/5
                    Part 8 in the Yagyu Chronicles series. Yaguy Jubei tries to curb a revolution against the Tokugawa shogunate after a weapons shipment goes missing. He calls in all the Yaguy ninjas, but among them comes a young impostor (young Hiroki Matsukata). I'm not well versed in classic Toei jidaigeki nor ninja films, so all I can say is that this film is loads of good time, a stylishly filmed ninja suspense tale full of action, including a ninja version of the Battle of Normandy as part of the massive 25 minute action climax.

                    YA-KU-ZA-Hoodlums (893愚連隊) (Japan, 1966) [DVD] - 3.5/5
                    Early Sadao Nakajima film detailing the daily activities of young opportunistic hoodlums (Hiroki Matsukata, Ichiro Araki, Ken Sanders and a few others) in Kyoto, a city of bigger, more organized yakuza. It takes a while to get going, but Nakajima does well with a catchy jazz score, effective cuts and cinéma vérité style cinematography de-romanticizing the gang life. One of Nakajima's more personal projects conceived outside the usual genre cinema box, together with Memoir of Japanese Assassins and Aesthetics of a Bullet.

                    The Threat (è„…è¿«) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] - 4/5
                    Brutal, extremely intense Kinji Fukasaku thriller about a family man (Rentaro Mikuni) forced to help two criminals (Ko Nishimura and Hideo Murota) in a kidnapping/blackmail plot after they invade his house and take his family as hostage. Fukasaku once said he's proud of his filmography from the early 70s on, but closer inspection shows he already directed various small, but highly effective pictures in the 60s. This one is almost as hard hitting as his 70s classics, sharing their editing rhythms and documentary style street cinematography. The cast is terrific, Nishimura (the old priest from Lady Snowblood) in particular as the main bad guy.

                    Virgin Breaker Yuki (玉割人ゆき) (Japan, 1975) [DVD] - 2.5/5
                    Nasty bitch / brothel virgin breaker Masumi Jun gets involved with outlaw revolutionaries and is stalked by dickless hobo Takuzo Kawatani. Early Showa set political Toei Porno isn't really great shakes, and oddly the storyline has more to do with supporting characters than the protagonist. But there's some sadism, a great Kawatani role, and it's quite watchable from the general/technical standpoint. It's worth noting that most of director Yuji Makiguchi's output wasn't as outrageous as his most notorious picture, Shogun's Sadism, and nor was this.

                    Virgin Breaker Yuki II: Western Licensed District (玉割り人ゆき 西の廓夕月楼) (Japan, 1976) [DVD] - 3/5
                    An unusual sequel that is essentially a meditative character piece of cruel poetry. This time Yuki falls in love with a man haunted by a complex past. There quite a lot of attention to period detail and more than a bit of arthouse Roman Porno flavour despite being a Toei film. In fact, had Noboru Tanaka or Tatsumi Kumashiro been Toei directors, they might have made with something like this. Well, it was written by Yozo Tanaka who did write several films for Noboru Tanaka and Masaru Konuma (and later even Shinji Somai). The film doesn't ultimately achieve as much as it could, but it is quite an interesting curiosity in Toei's line-up. Fans of the more exploitative part 1 will be disappointed, but I think this is the better of the two.

                    Tattoo ari (TATTOO<刺青>あり) (Japan, 1982) [DVD] - 2/5
                    Osaka chinpira Ryudo Uzaki goes around gambling, beating women and running miserable little businesses. 70s Daiei lemon sex starlet Keiko Sekine plays his punching bag, Yuya Uchida contributes a song. Depressing 80s misery porn not unlike Mosquito on the Tenth Floor and Ryuji, two films I have little love for. The 80s fashion disasters in prominent display don't make them any easier to take. Should find its fans, however, and it did. Director Banmei Takahashi picked up the best director trophy at the Yokohama Fest, Uzaki was crowned best actor. A for me, had this been made 5 years earlier with Takuzo Kawatani in the lead, I think it could've produced something quite different and cinematically outrageous.


                    • Thanks, Takuma, for these ongoing mini-reviews. I'd buy the book if you compiled them all into one.

                      YA-KU-ZA Hoodlums sounds great, too.

                      Fukasaku's THE THREAT sounds amazing. Hopefully it will be available with English subs at some point.


                      • Lethal Panther AKA Deadly China Dolls

                        A fine remastered DVD/Blu combo in a German mediabook of one of my fave HK actioners* of all time, this time with both the English dub and Cantonese and Mandarin with English subs! Quite an improvement of my old dodgy UK DVD which was a straight port from an old VHS I also had at one point.

                        Also, the film is not only uncut, but it has an interview with Godfrey Ho AND an audio commentary with him as well! AMAZING!

                        * with soft core porn thrown in for no real reason.
                        The Silly Swede
                        Senior Member
                        Last edited by The Silly Swede; 05-07-2020, 03:21 PM.
                        "No presh from the Dresh!"


                        • I watched the Korean director Man-dae Bong's Trap (on a HK DVD with English subtitles). Plenty of nudity and sex, with an odd and disorienting plot. Highly recommended.


                          • Daiei x 2

                            Nakano Spy School (陸軍中野学校) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] - 3/5
                            Daiei's 5 film take on the famous WWII spy school, with Raizo Ichikawa in the lead. There have been many films covering the subject, including the superb Sonny Chiba noir/commando action Army Intelligence 33 (1968) and the grittier Junya Sato directed Nakano Spy School (1974) at Toei. This one is more of a military thriller, with some dry training and build-up segments with the naive young men, but also a very suspenseful final 30 minutes that really make the film. Bleak, but one can't help but to feel it's lacking the kind rigorous of assault on war, nationalism and the viewer's senses that was present in many of director Yasuzo Masumura's other films (e.g. Hoodlum Soldier, Red Angel).

                            Nakano Spy School: Cloud #1 Directive (陸軍中野学校 雲一号指令) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] - 2/5
                            Part 2. Ichikawa is assigned to investigate who is planting bombs in Japanese cargo ships. Plenty of spy activity, but this sequel loses the darker shades of the original and is essentially void of action to boot. The tension only starts to build up towards the very end.

                            Toei x 2

                            Flower Cards Chivalry (花札渡世) (Japan, 1967) [TV] - 4.5/5
                            Astonishing art house ninkyo yakuza film by Masashige Narusawa. Wandering gambler Tatsuo Umemiya runs into a young swindler woman Haruko Wanibuchi working with old man Junzaburo Ban. They are both arrested by detective Ko Nishimura. A year later Umemiya is staying with gangster Tatsuo Endo when he comes across that woman and her partner again. Endo lusts for both her and his own daughter, while Endo's looney yakuza brother Toru Abe has a thing for Endo's daughter, who in turn has her eye on Umemiya, and is willing to annihilate people standing on her way. And here lies one of the film's remarkable departures from the standard ninkyo efforts: it doesn't have a third party villain, nor a clear distinction between good and evil. It's bursting with romantic emotion and wrenched with gritty realism, shot with striking black and white compositions, and explodes into shocking carnage. It has lengthier, more detailed gambling scenes than any other yakuza film I've seen. And it has a heartbreakingly beautiful score. You could call it the Ashes of Time of ninkyo yakuza films. A masterpiece!

                            Account of a Showa Era Scoundrel (昭和極道史) (Japan, 1972) [VoD] - 1.5/5
                            Unimaginative yakuza programmer with Tatsuo Umemiya. It's a ninkyo film set in modern milieu, lacking both the old fashioned charm of the 60s films and the brutal edge of the emerging 70s jitsuroku violence. Most characters are chatterboxes, but there is no reason to care about what they say. Tetsuro Tamba, Tsunehiko Watase and Mariko Kaga are all wasted in their supporting roles. The first and last 10 minutes are alright. Screenwriters Isao Matsumoto and Hideaki Yamamoto were in charge of the Delinquent Boss series at the time, and this is about what you'd expect from them minus the comedy. There is no reason for this film to exist other than as a programmer.

                            Nikkatsu Roman Porno x 2

                            Erotic Diary of an Office Lady (OL官能日記 あァ!私の中で) (Japan, 1977) [DVD] - 3/5
                            An interesting, if cinematically a bit mediocre, socio-political exploration on women's poor standing in Japan's patriarchal business society. It's more ambitious than the hideous title would have one expect, with a solid-enough character narrative for the then-newcomer Asami Ogawa caught between various men, and it dials down the excessive perviness, too. Nikkatsu has been keen to take credit of creating "women's cinema" in their retroactive re-branding of the Roman Porno series (particularly since 2012), but this one could actually qualify. The storytelling isn't always great shakes per se, but director Konuma brings it to an absolutely fabulous 7 min climax that rocks the socks off with some of the best merging of music and images in the Roman Porno series alongside Noboru Tanaka's road movie Pink Salon: Five Lewd Women (1978).

                            Friday Bedroom (金曜日の寝室) (Japan, 1978) [DVD] - 2/5
                            A middle aged salaryman has woman trouble (wife, lover, and unknown caller threatening to expose latter to the former) in Masaru Konuma's dull Roman Porno Daisaku (a Golden Week release with Pink Hip Girl). This one doesn't know what it wants to be: a thriller or a human drama, a kinky flick or a mainstream movie, ending up being a bit of everything and not a whole lot of anything. It feels like a 80s TV film with 15 minutes of added sex scenes. It remains somewhat watchable, but is unlikely to be anyone's favourite Konuma film. See Erotic Diary of an Office Lady (1977) and Bed-In (1986) for similar but better Konuma efforts.
                            Senior Member
                            Last edited by Takuma; 06-10-2020, 11:47 PM.


                            • Originally posted by Takuma View Post
                              Nikkatsu Roman Porno x 2

                              Erotic Diary of an Office Lady (OL官能日記 あァ!私の中で) (Japan, 1977) [DVD] - 3/5
                              but director Konuma brings it to an absolutely fabulous 7 min climax that rocks the socks off with some of the best merging of music and images in the Roman Porno series alongside Noboru Tanaka's road movie Pink Salon: Five Lewd Women (1978).
                              one of my favourite climax ever. And you wouldn't expect this kind of movie from Konuma...

                              Nikkatsu has been keen to take credit of creating "women's cinema" in their retroactive re-branding of the Roman Porno series (particularly since 2012).
                              Yeah and it's quite ironic isn' it ? Nikkatsu really tried hard in doing that but if the next RP Reboot (in 2021 maybe?) will succeed in bringing female directors to the fold they might actually accomplish a real "ladies' cinema"...after all even in their classic RP years their stories were in a way more woman-o-centric (?) than the average Toei film...
                              Senior Member
                              Last edited by tetrapak; 06-11-2020, 04:54 AM.


                              • Demonic Beauty (Thailand, 2002)

                                This is an odd case where I own the DVD, and it has English subtitles, but I did not know what the title was, which was a problem because I wanted to recommend it to people. On the disc and in the film, the credits and titles are not translated. The packaging is quite slick, with a fancy cardboard slipcase, showing a beautiful woman and a cobra with snazzy red foil eyes, and although the English subs are mentioned, the title is nowhere written in Latin characters. After watching the movie, I put on my most powerful reading specs and scrutinized the packaging. There is nothing at all on the outer cardboard case that divulges the film's name, but on the back of the DVD case, in the bottom right hand corner, in tiny printing, are the words “Demonic Beauty.” So if you are like me, and not lucky enough to have been born a Thai, you would have to open the packaging to discover which movie you bought.

                                There is an elaborate backstory involving the Thais fighting the Khmer Empire centuries ago (the more Thai films I watch the clearer it becomes that the Thais and Cambodians have some unresolved business), but most of the action takes place in an isolated Thai village. There a beautiful young woman becomes a Krasue ( the flying woman's head with the guts hanging out). I found the depiction of traditional life and society quite fascinating. There's a lot of black (and white) magic and some interesting fights, including a large-scale battle. It does not hurt at all that traditional Thai women's garb consists of tube tops and that the gorgeous leading lady is game for a bit of nudity. I imagine that the budget for the film was somewhat constraining, but the director does a fine job of balancing his aspirations with his resources: nothing seemed hokey. He pulls off a decent beheading and a good scene where a stuntman is set on fire. There's also a stand out fight between a cobra and the krasue; and the making-of documentary shows that a real snake was used. I enjoyed Demonic Beauty.