Sukeban Hunters

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“Love that alternate title: Yakuza-Busting Girls: Final Death-Ride Battle.

This teetered on the edge of a seal of approval, but didn’t quite make it. While there are some lovely moments, two great leads and the recreation of the pinky violence genre from the sixties and seventies, there’s just too much dead wood and pacing flaws, that leave it just short. Still certainly worth a look, with Asami (Asami) and Junko (Rena) going head-to-head as they battle each other for supremacy in the girl-gang world. Junko seems to have got the upper hand, leaving her rival buried for dead in the desert [or whatever passes for a desert in Japan]. But Asami is just warming up: she claws her way, literally, back from the grave, teams up with her old gang-members, and sets about extracting revengs on Junko and her crew.

The two leads are great, with Rena outstanding as a completely-warped boss. To give you some idea, when two underlings screw up, she doesn’t just make them cut off a finger. She pits them head-to-head against each other in digit removal – and the first one to refuse or hesitate, earns a bullet in the head. That’s what I call an incentive to avoid screwing up. She’s also a part-time dominatrix, who enjoys whipping a topless Asami with roses till she bleeds. That’s probably about as sleazy as this gets, and most of the time is more interested in the violence than the pinky, if you see what I mean; there’s a couple of decent extended brawls, as Asumi and her “sisters” take on Junko’s minions [I was initially confused by the sisterhood thing, until I worked out it seems to be a gang term, rather than blood relations].

On the other hand, as noted. some sequences brings things to a halt, most obviously a night-clun sequence which appears as much to be a promo for some band (probably a friend of the director), before going over to the always-popular, unconvincing transvestite assassins. The ending, too, goes on beyond what is necessary or effective, and the digital muzzle flashes are somewhat overdone. But don’t let that dissuade you from what’s a fun entry in the gang-girl genre, and I look forward to the promised second installment.

Dir: Nakadaira Kazushi
Star: Asami, Komine Rena, Motomiya Kenji, Sato Jiro

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