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Synapse Films presents
"I'm not finished with you yet!"
DVD ReviewIf you picked up the first installment of the Legends of the Poisoness Seductress pinky violence trilogy, Female Demon Ohyaku, and enjoyed it, then you have more of the same waiting for you in the second film, Quick-Draw Okatsu, once again starring Junko Miyazono. But, if you liked the character of Ohyaku, you're out of luck, as the second film features Miyazono in a different, albeit vaguely similar role. It's the sort of film that will appeal to the converted, but newcomers may wonder what the fuss is about.
Okatsu (Miyazono) is the adopted daughter of swordmaster Makabe (Ko Nishimura). Their dojo is part of the territory overseen by Shiozaki (Kenji Imai), the stereotypical evil authority figure. As in the previous film, this character lusts after our heroine, and when Makabe refuses to give consent for Okatsu to Shiozaki in marriage, plans are set in motion to destroy the family. When those plans come to fruition, Okatsu swears venegance and begins eliminating everyone who made her family suffer.
It's not a huge thing, but my first problem with this trilogy is the title; basically, there is no "poisoness seductress" in these films, unless you susbscribe to the view that a woman deserves to be raped merely by virtue of being attractive and refusing to give in to powerful men. Because that's Okatsu's only problem. She's perfectly pleasant and moderate in her behavior, until Shiozaki rapes her, and a family friend sells her to a brothel. That's when she gets aggravated. Miyazono never really gets too bent out of shape on the surface; her oath of vengeance comes off more as an expected duty than something done in any kind of anger. There's no doubt everyone that she cuts down deserves it, as they're all unredeemable scumbags.
The film is further weakened by the inclusion of Reiko Oshida as a deus ex machina character, a young swordswoman who pops up at opportune moments to bail Okatsu out of a jam. There's really no other reason for her to be in the film, other than lazy scripting and a chance for the male audience to stare at her. Tomisaburo Wakayama is once again wasted as a bounty hunter who initially wants to arrest Okatsu before deciding to let her go and set up a sequel, an opportunity passed up by the filmmakers, since the next film has nothing to do with this one aside from Miyazono as a character named Okatsu.
At the end of the day, this is passable stuff, but even the normally classy Nobuo Nakagawa doesn't have much to expend his energies on, aside from a couple nice shots here and there. It's a by-the-book revenge action film, with few moments to truly engage. The sadism level is somewhat heightened, I suppose, but beyond that I can't recommend it to anyone but converts. The presentation is first rate, however.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C+
Image Transfer Review: The transfer is excellent, with only a bit of image flicker early on to detract, and that's just nitpicking. The white, optional subtitles are of excellent quality.
Image Transfer Grade: A
Audio Transfer Review: A standard 2.0 mono track doesn't have a ton of range, but its does the job and I have no complaints about it.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Female Demon Ohyaku, Okatsu the Fugitive
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Extras Grade: C
Final CommentsStandard Japanese revenge fare, of historical interest due to its status as a formative film in the pinky violence genre. It doesn't compare to the best of that genre, which was yet to come, but it's okay. Synapse's presentation is excellent.
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