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Female Yakuza Tale
- Inquisition And Torture
cast: Reiko Ike, Makoto Aikawa, Akemi Kasuga, Emi Jou, and Jun Midorikawa

director: Teruo Ishii

86 minutes (18) 1973
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Fabulous / Fremantle DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Paul Higson
Fidgeters with an attention deficit disorder could be well served by sitting down in front of Female Yakuza Tale - Inquisition And Torture, Teruo Ishii's sukeban sexploiter from 1973. It's a busy hornet's nest of rude behaviour and hoodlum shenanigans in the 'pinky violence' genre. The sequel to Sex & Fury, it stars Japanese soft porn icon Reike Ike as yakuza girl, Inioshiko Ocho, raised in the Ogi clan and returning home to pay tribute to the dead mob boss that originally took her under his wing. Protecting her from all harm and vices, the gang lord had even sacrificed a finger in lieu of one of hers when the callow girl had been caught cheating at a gambling table. Indebted to him she promised never to gamble again. She returns to the chaotic and scary harbour town where, reportedly, a serial killer is loose, perpetrator of the 'crotch gouge murders'. On arrival, a cab delivers her into a trap. Ocho is strung up, the excitable villains suddenly losing interest when they realise her vagina isn't transporting the expected drugs.

They could have killed her but instead try to frame her for the murder of a prostitute. Discovered next to the corpse by mystery man Jyoji, she is warned not to take this matter to the police. The evidence of her guilt is glaringly obviously, after all: "The blood on your hands. The knife you were gripping. This sleeping pussy... The cops won't buy it." Fact is, they don't even have to know, as she is never coupled up with the murder. Logic is never foremost in a film like this. Jyoji is pursued by gunmen and is assisted in his escape by the sedate Yoshini of Christ, a cool nun with long black tresses and a gun. Yoshini of Christ only says a prayer if it is to be followed by her killing someone. Jyoji has just been released from jail and in the hotel room they share they shed their rain sodden clothes. Yoshini of Christ, sleek, damp and naked; you can't blame him for having expectations on top of several years' hiatus, but brandishing a samurai sword quickly wilts his ardour. They team up to bring a relative degree of order and justice to the harbour town, a mission that Ocho is also separately upon. The Ogi clan and the Yokohama clan have drug trafficking problems, as their girls transporting the dope have been interfered with by the Harbour clan, who are removing the pure junk and returning packets that have been severely cut into.

Jyoji is of the Ogi clan and was set to succeed the old boss in a proxy role, the fortune to have gone to a daughter, but during his incarceration the nefarious Mr Goda had sleazily taken over the operation at the old man's passing. The true inheritor, a girl called Noriko, has been secluded away in an asylum and is murdered before Jyoji and Ocho, by then teamed with them, can spring her. Ocho has infiltrated the prostitution ring, as has Yoshini in a more laidback fashion. Yoshini too, has served some time behind bars, and free again has found her sisters who, though classier prostitutes, have also been lured into the heroin smuggling racket. Jyoji, Ocho and Yoshini suddenly have a army, virtually every whore in the harbour, some of whom have usefully hardened themselves up with weapons to serve as a warning to clients that might want to take things too far. At the clans' meeting, team tart reveal their hand too early and the clans agree to put their differences aside while they attend the bevy of vengeful whores.

The gangsters have the upper hand and order the girls to strip naked and the women do just that. It momentarily puts the gangsters off guard; now that they have nowhere to hide their weapons, but hey, they have been transporting weapons between their legs and its modelled their vaginas nicely to hide bombs that quickly reduce the number of gangsters. The film ends with a frenzied battle as the girls attack with whips, claws, swords, guns and whatever comes to hand. It is a fight so tacky it resembles an Arikamentari photo-shoot from the next decade (clearly this is the imagery that informed the unfeasibly celebrated photographer's naff, trash tableaux of the 1980s). There is never a dull moment but the film over-reaches into the squalid. They can't simply kick a gangster to death; they also have to urinate on him, as he lies dying. The dialogue is frequently misogynistic. "You fat-arsed, piss-stained, little tramp!" is one loving epithet. One of the prostitutes expects to carry a larger package and proudly reminds the villain that she is, "Maruko with the wide gate."

The unsavoury content is complemented by a conspiracy of lurid colours. Scenery and costumes consistently explode with the full Technicolor palette, that is until the end massacre which takes place in a dark warehouse (a barely disguised studio) where only flesh and blood stand out from the shadows. Most of the sets and locations look good though, particularly the interconnecting streets and boudoirs. The music of Sou Tsuguki is lively even when cheatingly reduced to a Jewish harp. Fast cuts, exciting visual flourishes and sporty camera angles contribute to the pace and appeal. Yoshini's sisters wear some marvellous dresses, a colour apiece. Ike may be iconic in Japan but she was neither a great body nor beauty, and it is Yoshini who is more enigmatic, though neither was she a perfect ten.

Whereas today there would be no shortage of lithe and gorgeous creatures with unblemished skin and limbs and bits in all the right places the girls here are average in shape and looks, which is likely the reason Ike could rises so formidably to star status within the field. The end fight involves some 50 naked girls. The camera tries not to catch sight of the nether regions and when it accidentally does so it is revealed that they are wearing little coverlets. The subtitles sometimes hurry by a little too quickly and though the cast is large, few of the characters are introduced by name, which excuses me from trying to attribute actors to roles. It is impossible to approve of the films as a whole but the film is nevertheless, throughout, despicably and dubiously, entertaining. Extras include the original trailer, original cinema posters, a stills gallery and a brief history of Reike Ike.

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