Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Yakuza Hunters (3 Stars)

I don't know what to call this film. IMDB lists it as "Yakuza-Busting Girls: Final Death-Ride Battle", which is the official name of the Japanese release. The American release is called "Yakuza Hunters: Final Death Ride Battle". The UK release is called "Yakuza Hunters: The Ultimate Battle Royale". In Germany it's called "Battle Girls versus Yakuza". To simplify things I'm just calling it "Yakuza Hunters", even though I realise I'm creating a fifth version of the name. Why make things easy when it's easier to make things hard? (You can quote me on that).

Asami rises up from the slums and unites the warring girl gangs into one large female alliance against the male-ruled Yakuza. Her second-in-command, Junko, is jealous of Asami's power, so she betrays Asami by joining the Yakuza and helping them wipe out the female alliance. Even Asami is killed, or so it seems. She crawls out of her grave and vows to take revenge on Junko and the Yakuza. Only four other girls have survived, so Asami unites them into a group called the Yakuza Hunters.

In the opening scenes Asami walks across the mountains half naked carrying a cross on her back. The cinematography and the iconic symbolism looked so beautiful that I was sure it would be a brilliant film. But then the background music became so bad that it disturbed me. And there was a scene with Yakuza members being ordered to cut off their own fingers as a punishment. This scene was ugly in its content, and made even worse by the bad acting. And so the film continued, erratically alternating between very impressive and very ugly scenes. I might have given the film a higher rating if the final showdown between Asami and Junko hadn't been so stupid. Watch the film yourself to see what I mean.

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