Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 20th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, December 29th, 1973
Director: Yasuharu Hasebe
Cast: Meiko Kaji, Masakazu Tamura, Yumi Kanei, Hiroshi Tsukata
DVD Released: May 2nd, 2006
Approximate Running Time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Tokyo Shock/Media Blasters
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
(Warning this review contains spoilers.)
Nami (Meiko Kaji) is on the run from the police after her latest prison break. The police find her hiding out at a wedding. She is hurt badly as she manages to get away once again. Kudo is a loner who works as the light man at a strip club. One evening he comes across the wounded Nami in the men’s bathroom and he takes her home to take care of her. One of the girls in the strip club informs the police that Kudo is hiding Nami. The police bring Kudo in for interrogation and when he refuses to tell them anything they are forced to let him go. After they let him go the police tail him and they quickly surround Nami and Kudo.
On the run the Nami and Kudo decide to wait for and ambush the detective who has a grudge against them. They are forced to tie up the detectives’ pregnant wife and during a struggle she accidentally fails to the street below. The police close in on them later and they are forced to go separate ways. Kudo is caught and this time the police get him to talk when they bring in his mother. Betrayed will Nami ever trust anyone ever again?
Female Prisoner Scorpion: Grudge Song is the fourth and final appearance of Meiko Kaji as Sasori. The first three films were directed by Shunya Ito and for the fourth film there would be a change in the director’s chair with Yasuharu Hasebe who had previous worked with Meiko Kaji on the Stray Cat Rock series. Yasuharu Hasebe direction is filled with many subjective shots that often interplay between multiple characters and locations.
Meiko Kaji returns as Sasori and she plays the character with confidence. Her cold stare and minimal dialog are driven home by her tough a nails persona. Sasori has taken her fare share of beatings through the series. This film features some of her most brutal beatings. She is a gluten for punishment and she can give a beating just as well as she can take it. This film also marks one of the few times that Sasori has any kind of stable relationship with a man. Her relationship with Kudo shows a different side of her that is rarely seen. Unfortunately history tends to repeat itself and Kudo like all men before him betrays her.
This films main back story is about police brutality and it revolves around a character named Kudo. The police are not shown in a good light in this film and besides beating suspects they also rape one of the guards at the prison to black mail her into helping them take care of Sasori. The films spaced out score has a progressive rock feel to it that adds to the films bizarreness. Each of the four Female Prisoner Scorpion films that Meiko Kaji starred in are distinctively different form their predecessors which adds to the appeal of this series since it is like seeing something for the first time instead of an idea rehashed for the one hundredth time.
Female Prisoner Scorpion: Grudge Song is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are lucid and flesh tones look healthy. Black levels are strong as there is an exceptional amount of detail in every frame.
This release comes with only one audio option the film’s original Japanese language track which is presented for this release in a Dolby Digital mono. Dialog is crystal clear and the music and effects perfectly complement the rest of the mix. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release include trailers for Female Prisoner Scorpion: Grudge Song, Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion, Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable, Deathtrance and The Neighbor No. Thirteen . Other extras include a brief photo gallery. Media Blasters have given Female Prisoner Scorpion: Grudge Song a first rate release comes with a solid audio/video presentation and now fans of the Female Prisoner Scorpion series can finally add this film to their collection after years of only being available without any English subtitles.