Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 15th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, June 18th, 1977
Japanese Title: Shin joshuu sasori: Tokushu-bô X
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen
Director: Yutaka Kohira
Writer: Tatsuhiko Kamoi
Cinematograper: Yoshio Nakajima
Composer: Kioichi Kawabe
Cast: Yôko Natsuki, Takeo Chii, Toshie Kokabu, Fumie Shô, Tadashi Takatsuki, Hisako Yaohara
Synopsis: A former nurse is sent to prison after killing the director at the hospital she worked because he murdered her lover.
Following the success of New Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701 Toei would produce yet another sequel titled New Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701: Special Cell X. The only main cast or crew returning for the sequel is director Yutaka Kohira. The sixth film would feature a change in the lead role of Nami the New Female Prisoner #701 who has been previously played by Yumi Takigawa. Stepping into the role of Nami is Yôko Natsuki an actress with very little experi9nce getting the lead role in one of her first roles. Yôko Natsuki performance is the weakest of the three actresses to play the Female Prisoner #701 role. To her credit she does get the mannerisms and attitude of the character down convincingly.
Visually director Yutaka Kohira picks up right where he left off in the previous entry. Once again the dream sequences standout for their nightmarish imagery and ability to reveal more depth about the Nami character. The revenge scenes are the most impressive part of the film especially a scene where Nami uses a liter and some conveniently placed gasoline to dispose of one her tormentors. For most of the film Nami spend it being tortured and passively sitting back biding her time tell she can exact her revenge.
At the prison there is guard named kajiki who has a vendetta against Nami because she escaped under his watch. Kajiki pits the other inmates against Nami trying to break her down. The warden and Kajiki don’t see eye to eye so the warden replaces Kajiki as the head guard. This slighting by the warden sets forth Kajiki’s downfall where through circumstance his fate becomes intertwined with Nami’s. This relationship is an intriguing part of the plot and a new twist on a familiar story.
Besides the lead performance of Yôko Natsuki as Nami two other performances are worth noting. The actor who plays Kajiki does a solid job of transforming from a heartless bastard into a compassionate man on the run who befriends his nemesis Nami. The other standout performance comes from Masashi Ishibashi who is most remembered for playing Takuma Tsurugi’s nemesis Junjo in the first two Streetfighter films. Masashi Ishibashi in New Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701: Special Cell X plays a warden that rivals the Ilsa the Wicked Warden. Even though most of Masashi Ishibashi films roles centered on him playing a bad guy opposite Sonny Chiba it is refreshing to see him in the role of warden in this film. The torture scenes are all well done and some of the most brutal in the series.
Ultimately New Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701: Special Cell X fails to live up to the standards set by its predecessors making it the weakest film in the Female Prisoner series.
Note: This title is only currently available on DVD in France as part of a Female Prisoner #701 box set titled “Coffret intégrale la femme scorpion”. This box set includes all six Female Prisoner #701 films (no English subtitles options with this set).