A Cult Icon Reborn! First Stills From Joe Ma's SASORI!

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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Amongst those in the know, the 1970's Japanese women-in-prison Sasori films - better known in the English speaking world under the Female Convict Scorpion moniker - are absolutely legendary stuff. Quentin Tarantino, for one, is an outspoken fan and used the original films as a major source of inspiration for his Kill Bill films and so the news that Hong Kong's Sameway Pictures was tackling a relaunch of the series with their Japanese production partners Artport it was met with a mixture of nervousness and excitement. This was, after all, truly legendary material being brought back to life not only in a different era but in a different culture.

The nervousness went away, for me anyway, at the 2007 Hong Kong Filmart when the first reel of film - shot that very same week - was shown at the Sameway booth. It was raw stuff, fresh out of the camera, but it showcased the visceral, ballsy style that Samewya has quickly become known for thanks to their work on Dog Bite Dog and Shamo. Less a remake than a re-envisioning, the Hong Kong and Japanese influences are equally felt thanks both to the international cast - Simon Yam, Sam Lee and Lam Suet represent Hong Kong; Miki Mizuno and Ryo Ishibashi represent Japan - and the fusion of the raw kinetics of 1980's Cat III Hong Kong film with Japanese flair. Yeah, the footage was raw, but it was good and I've been waiting for something official to turn up ever since.

And now the wait is over, the good folks at international sales agent Easternlight having just granted ScreenAnarchy readers an exclusive first look at a quartet of stills from the picture, to my knowledge the first shots of this to appear anywhere. Hit the link below to admire.

When a band of assassins invade the home of their target HEI TAI they find only his bride to be NAMI and force upon her a cruel dilemma: either she kill her fiancee's sister or they kill her fiancee. Trapped, and unable to confide in the person she loves most, Nami kills her fiancee's sister and is sent to prison where she survives only by becoming as ruthless as those around her.

Trained to fight by a fellow inmate, Nami develops the skills and strength to escape and sets out on a quest for revenge. After killing two of the assassins she's reunited with Hei Tai who's still unaware she killed his sister. As their love is rekindled Nami decides to abandon her crusade of vengeance when the remaining assassin finds them and tells Hei Tai what Nami did. Nami realizes she can never rest until she finds and defeats the assassins' employer, but now her beloved's torn between helping her and his own personal desire for revenge.

A gripping, pulpy revenge thriller re-visioning the long running cult Japanese franchise recognized as an inspiration behind KILL BILL.

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Click here for the stills.
Sasori at Easternlight

JMaruyamaDecember 7, 2007 2:55 PM

Awesome scoop Todd! I'm a huge fan of the original "Jyoshu 701 Go Sasori" and its sequels so I'm curious about this movie. I'm a bit nervous that this will just turn out to be another "Kill Bill" clone (judging from the pictures) but hope that Joe Ma can pull it off and make it standout on its own. It may be just a coincidence but "heitai" is army/force in Japanese and I wonder if that name was intentional. Hope Mizuno Miki is better here than she was in "Senrigan". Next to Oshima Yukari and Nishiwaki Michiko, Mizuno is one of the better Japanese stuntwoman-turned-actress.

HungFistDecember 7, 2007 8:08 PM

I don't see the series as any holy cow after all the sequels. If this film succeeds, then fine. If not, then I'll just ignore it.

I think bringing back the original theme song is not a good idea. Both New Female Prisoner Scorpion films had theme songs of their own and it worked. And those were good films, too. The ending of the first New Female Prisoner Scorpion is one of the best scenes (maybe even the best) in the whole Sasori series. Yumi Takigawa was of course not on par with Meiko, but she wasn't too bad. The second new Sasori film, Tokushubo-X was maybe slighty bland at times, but the ultra cool ending saved a lot. Yuko Natsuki wasn't very good in the lead role, but the supporting actors - Masashi Ishibashi, Takeo Chii and Hiroshi Tachi - kicked ass.

Of course after that came all the straight to video sequels of which I haven't bothered to watch a single one. They look and sound not worth my time. After those films I really couldn't care less if somebody wants to make even more "crap sequels".

but hey, this Joe Ma film looks like it could be alright. I'll keep this in mind but won't set any expectations for it.

Todd BrownDecember 7, 2007 8:35 PM

Trust me, from the clips I've seen this isn't overly flashy. The whole attraction to the Sameway aesthetic is how gritty it is. Have you seen Dog Bite Dog?

logboyDecember 8, 2007 2:35 AM

has to be said, with regards the first comments for this, that it's two different issues with regards how meiko kaji contributed at the time of release and how she appears to affect the film from a distance. so, you might be seeing a new star-in-the-making with a different sasori. still, post 70's films, there were many DTV / v-cinema takes on the sasori character, none of which hit the mood captured at the time, more like the expected 80s atmosphere. lets hope we get a modern gritty approach as it seems to be suggested.

ChevalierAguilaDecember 8, 2007 1:10 PM

I have seen DBD, and it has the right mood for a Sasori flick in therms of atmosphere, i just hope it's not the same in the plot department, because DBD's story was just plain dumb.