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Lady Snowblood:
Love Song Of Vengeance

cast: Kaji Meiko

director: Fujita Toshiya

89 minutes (18) 1974
widescreen aspect ratio 2.35:1
DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Jeff Young
In Japan, 1905, Samurai murderess Yuki (Meiko) has been arrested and sentenced to execution for a series of revenge killings. However, she's offered a reprieve by the Emperor's secret police if she will spy on political activist Ransui, and steal hard evidence of criminality that he holds against imperial authorities. Employed as a maid by Ransui, Yuki's duplicity is suspected almost at once, and after defying agency observers; she joins forces with the anarchist movement in a bid to free herself and the rebels from harassment, and secure vital food supplies for plague-infected slums, by blackmailing the government.
   This is a complex political drama with sporadic bursts of action whenever the heroine is cornered by her numerous opponents. The performances are uniformly fine, and the exquisite scope cinematography achieves outstanding use of various locations and meticulously constructed sets. Despite the bloodthirsty sword and gunfights, though, this follow-up to 1973's Lady Snowblood: Blizzard From The Netherworld is regrettably too serious for its own good. The general humourless tone means the story tends to drag on forever, and the film seems far longer than its actual 90 minutes.
   DVD extras: stills gallery, filmographies of star and director, and promotional art. Also text notes, ship photos and a political cartoon about the Russo-Japanese war, plus six samurai movie previews.