With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

HELLCAGE: INMATE 611 PART 2 available on DVD today

Switchblade Pictures
Hellcage: Inmate 611 Part 2 / Joshû 611: onna-tachi no gyakushû
Directed by Riichi (a.k.a. Toshikazu) Katsu
Japan, 2007, 77 minutes

Hellcage: Inmate 611 Part 2 (a.k.a. Female Prisoner 611: Revenge of Evils) is available today on DVD from Switchblade Pictures. It's the sequel to Hellhole: Inmate 611, which I reviewed yesterday. Despite the same inmate designation in the title, this second film is not about Saya Mizushima (Akira Kiuchi) at all, but rather focuses on Reika Walka (Harumi Nemoto). Both characters/actresses, as well as almost all of the rest of the cast, were in the first film. Reika is referred to in the subtitles here as inmate number 48, then 42, then 48 again, which is a bit confusing, but relatively inconsequential.

Eri gets some from Masatoshi while Reika is in the slammer

We are treated to three new characters. One is Masatoshi Goto (Wataru Seihodo), a boyfriend of Reika's who wants to break her out of prison with the help of another new character. The third is Eri Hayashi (single-monikered actress Ruka), a friend of Reika's who shoots meth.

The sets are pretty much the same as in the original, cheap-looking even for a direct-to-video film, which both Inmate 611 features seem to be. The formula is also the same: a few sex scenes, none of which involve the main actress. And again there's a point at which the main character -- Reika in this case -- has to spend some time in solitary confinement because of crossing bitchy warden Mikawa.

Reika (left) with Warden Mikawa

But the story and the cinematography in this sequel are a significant cut above the original, which I didn't think much of. The film essentially takes place in two time periods set roughly six years apart, and I felt that director Katsu exhibited more finesse in going back and forth between them than he did in the first film. Even the sex scenes seemed improved. Unfortunately, both films end rather abruptly, as if having reached the seventy-some minute mark meant "that's a wrap."

Japanese men keep their underpants on when they're screwing, at least in the Inmate 611 films

Special Features consist only of trailers of other films from Switchblade Pictures and the disc credits for Hellcage: Inmate 611 Part 2. Fortunately there's no problem with the aspect ratio such as what I experienced with the original.

There is a third film -- Joshû shiiku 611, which I believe translates simply as Inmate 611-- in the series, but at this point I don't know if Switchblade will be putting it out. If it does, rest assured that AsianCineFest will be reviewing it.

The ACF Rating for Hellcage: Inmate 611 Part 2 is 2 out of 4 stars; a fair film, even for its not particularly demanding genre; rather mildly recommended but even that only if you like this sort of thing.