Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 28th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, June 7th, 1973
Director: Teruo Ishii
Writers: Teruo Ishii, Masahiro Kakefuda
Cast: Reiko Ike, Makoto Aikawa, Arumi Kuri, Meika Seri, Jun Midorikawa, Emi Jô
DVD released: September 27th, 2005
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital mono
DVD Release: Panik House
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: The Ogi clan has been using Chinese women to help them smuggle their heroin shipments into Japan. The drugs are being hidden in the women’s vaginas and they have them wear a red scarf to signal that they are carrying the merchandise. When Ochô Inoshika (Reiko Ike) arrives in town wearing a red scarf around the same time the other ladies are supposed to arrive she is mistaken as one of the smugglers. After torturing her they quickly discover that they grabbed the wrong women. They then set her up to take the fall as the notorious “Crotch Gouge Murder” who mutilates woman’s private parts. In order to clear her name and catch the real killer Ochô is forced to form an alliance with a man named Jyoji (Ryohei Uchida) who has a score of his own to settle with some of his former colleagues.
Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture picks off right were its predecessor Sex & Fury left off as we see Ochô surrounded by a group of assassins with their samurai swords drawn as she spins her umbrella. This continues into the films tongue and check opening credits which showcase not only Ochô’s impressive fighting skills but her other ample assets as well. Taking over in the directing is Teruo Ishii who has directed a wide variety of genre’s and no matter the quality of the source material he always somehow manages to craft something that is above and beyond an amazing thrill ride.
Ishii’s direction is inspired at times as he keeps things moving quickly up until the films jaw dropping finale that obviously left an indelible impression of director Quentin Tarantino who has an eerily similar scene in his House of Blues sequence from Kill Bill volume one. Reiko Ike returns as Ochô giving a more grounded performance as she looks more comfortable in her skin this time around. Her cold stare will cut you like a razor blade, still she has a softer side to her this is introduce in this film like how she goes out of her way to help others. Ryohei Uchida know for playing offbeat characters isn’t given nearly enough screen time and when he appears in a scene he tends to dominate it. One moment of almost slap stick style violence that involves Ryohei Uchida’s character Joyji who throws bullets like throwing stars as they pierce throw eyes and foreheads.
The violence in Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture is more stylized then it was in Sex & Fury as Ishii goes for an unrealistic look to the carnage. The fighting scenes are beautifully photographed and executed. The film does suffer mildly from a lack of budget as many of the Ishii’s composition’s are at an angle or tight close ups that obscure the background. Another distinct difference is Sex & Fury was a period film that took place in the past Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture looks and feels modern. Besides increasing the level of violence when compared to its predecessor Sex & Fury this film takes disrobing to another level.
Panik House presents Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This progressive scan transfer solid colors that are rich and deep in texture. The black levels remain strong through as the image remains sharp and detailed with an exceptional amount of clarity in the back and foreground. There are no problems with compression or artifacts and grain is non-existent. Overall this transfer is on par with Panik House’s Sex & Fury release as you would be hard pressed to find any flaws in the source material.
This DVD release comes with only one audio option the films original Japanese language track which is presented here in a Dolby Digital mono. The dialog is razor sharp and there are no problems with hiss or distortion. The music and effects sound evenly balanced as they never drown out or distort the other. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release include a Poster & Still gallery and the films original theatrical trailer. Other extras include production notes, “Toei’s Bad Girl Cinema” an essay by Chris D. and bio’s for Reiko Ike and Teruo Ishii. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with Chris D. whose knowledge of this genre and film is evident immediately. Once again his has a lot too say and a few times he repeats something he had already mentioned in his audio commentary for Sex & Fury. Panik House continues to release quality releases with first rate job on the audio/video portion and informative extras making these releases in many instances the definitive versions of these films on DVD. The DVD is housed in a transparent clear case that also has a sticker of Reiko Ike. There is an outer slip case that goes over the main DVD case that has minimal box art and the writing like the outer sleeve is virtually see through. Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture is a down and dirty exploitation film that packs an unbelievable amount of sleaze and violence into its eighty six minute running time, recommended.