Two Japanese men help a Vietnam war deserter escape from Japan for Sweden. They plan to fund the escape by selling LSD pills. After word of the drug deal gets spread around they find themselves fending off rival gangs.
After being cruelly set up and deceived by Sugimi (Natsuyagi Isao), a conniving and crooked detective she had whole-heartedly fallen in love with (and subsequently lost her virginity to...), Matsushima Nami's desire for revenge knows no bounds. Her failed attempt at stabbing Sugimi on the steps of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Headquarters results in her doing hard time in a female prison run by sadistic and horny male guards. To Sugimi's surprise, Matsushima refuses to testify against him and his connections to the mob, and now the sheer fact that she knows such secrets makes her a liability. So Sugimi and the Japanese mafia orchestrate a plan whereby Matsushima will succumb to an "accidental" death in prison. They enlist the help of Kagiri, another female inmate with ties to both Sugimi and the mafia, thus their formidable plan is quickly set in motion. Little do they realize, however, how hotly Matsushima's desire for revenge burns within her. Written by
I've seen a handful of women in prison films and before seeing this one, hadn't seen a really good one. It's a genre closely associated with lesbian sex, torture and general sleaze and is one of the staples of the oeuvres of Italian trash directors such as Jess Franco and Joe D'Amato. Female Convict Scorpion adheres to the trends of the genre, but it does it with so much more class than the majority of genre offerings and the result is a film that transcends its trash origins into masterpiece territory. Female Convict Scorpion excellently straddles the boundary between the two types of film - its trash shot as art! Like most women in prison films, this one focuses on one particular prisoner inside a women's prison. The prisoner is Nami Matsushima, a woman betrayed by her boyfriend (a police officer with mob ties) and wrongly imprisoned. She wants revenge on the man who put her in jail, and since she knows a lot of his secrets; he wants her dead. The policeman/mobster soon decides to have one of the other prisoners arrange an "accident" for Nami Matsushima...
The film starts as it means to go on; first we get a prison break that sees two prisoners hunted down and caught by the ruthless prison guards, and the next scene sees a bunch of naked women being directed about by said prison guards. There is not as much sleaze in this film as there is in my other women in prison flicks, but there's more than enough - and the fact that it doesn't go over the top means that the sleaze we do get is far more potent. The film is also rather gory, and although much of the violence is in a comic book style, seeing the blood spill is still a treat. The film features some stunning cinematography, and director Shunya Ito is obviously keen to get the art-house style across as much as possible. There's also several excellently shot sequences; the scene involving a disgruntled inmate rampaging through the showers with a shard of glass being particularly excellent. It's all topped off by a sensational performance by Meiko Kaji in the lead role, and overall; it has to be said that Female Convict Scorpion is a masterpiece that does not deserve to be missed!
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