Directed by Joe Ma
Hong Kong/Japan, 2008, 103 min
North American Premiere
Well, New York Asian Film Festival 2008 has passed the half-way mark, and it's about time I start putting up some reviews of films I've seen.
Sasori ("scorpion") is a joint Hong Kong/Japan production that revives the Female Convict Scorpion series. This time around Miki Mizuno plays Nami, a lovely young thing who's forced by a group of toughs to kill her fiance's father and sister. Needless to say, the wedding's off, and Nami is carted off to a prison run with by a lecherous and dastardly warden, played to slimy perfection by Lam Suet.
From the "art house" look that the film starts with, it turns into a really gritty Women In Prison mode. Lots of girl-on-girl violence, including death matches staged by the warden. From observing them, Nami learns how to fight, and fight good! (Would that martial arts in the real world were that easy to master, but hey, it's a movie!!).
After Nami lays some whoop-ass on a bunch of fellow prisoners who attacked her, she is strung up on the warden's orders and left out in the cold to die. Then her shrouded body is dumped in the woods and covered with leaves and branches.
The Corpse Collector (Simon Yam in a terrific cameo) takes the body to the deserted building where he practices martial arts. When he discovers that she's actually still, if barely alive, he utters the priceless line: "A person who comes out of a coffin will be good at kung fu"!!!! You gotta love it!!!
After getting advanced training from him Nami returns to exact some kick-ass revenge on those who set her up. Be prepared for lots of slicin'-'n'-dicin' and such.
This "scorpion" has every bit as much sting as its predecessors and then some. It's a lively actioner that has great fight choreography and is beautifully filmed. I give it 3.5 out of 4 stars, highly recommended.
Sasori will be screened a second time at the IFC Center on Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 @ 11:55 PM. For info or to order tickets, click here.
For information about the entire remaining NYAFF 2008 schedule through July 6th, 2008, click here.