“Maybe she shouldn’t have bothered.”
The third in the series loses a lot of the loopy insanity that made the first one such a classic. Shiomi is still as kick-ass a heroine as ever, but I have to say, it was a severe struggle to remain conscious throughout, despite the brief 77-minute running time. By most accounts, the story is largely a re-tread of the second film, with Koryu Lee (Shiomi) going from Hong Kong to Yokohama, to track down a missing woman, only to find herself crossing paths, swords and a variety of other weapons, with local organized crime – since the target of her search is now the mistress of Oh Ryu Mei (Yamamoto). He pits wannabe warriors against each others in death matches, to decide who is fit to become a minion, only to find Lee is more than up to taking them on. He turns to freelancer Kurosaki (Kurata), who agrees to take out the unwanted snooper for twenty million yen.
While certainly possessing its surreal moments – such as the sudden realization that the sexy tune being played in the background at a strip club is, er, Danny Boy – there isn’t the same sense of unfettered imagination. And while the lack of editing during the fight sequences is a refreshing contrast to modern techniques, the alternative favoured by Yamaguchi involves a lot of hand-held camera. Unfortunately, it does not appear that the steadicam had yet made its way to Japan, and the results are disjointed, with Shiomi shining despite of, rather than because of, the presentation. Her skills with the nunchakus are particularly impressive, even if the fight in which she uses them largely consists of a pose-off with the weapons. It’s a significantly less-entertaining piece of work than the original, and that’s a shame.
Dir: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Star: Etsuko Shihomi (Sue Shiomi), Akane Kawasaki, Yasuaki Kurata, Rinichi Yamamoto