revenge is a dish best served cold, this is a blood Popsicle. It is one blisteringly
chilly, gory film. If the work of uni-named actress Asami means anything to
you, then you already expect something extreme. The star of Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead and The Machine Girl (as well as scores of
crazier sounding titles) will become a weapon of vengeance in Kurando Mitsutake’s
Gun Woman (not safe for
anywhere trailer here), which
had its Canadian premiere at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival.
warning, if you are squeamish or have an average sensitivity to violence, Gun Woman is not for you. Frankly, the
first half hour is almost prohibitively brutal, but it will have you down with
the mastermind’s general desire for payback. His target is the sadist heir to a
multinational conglomerate fortune. “Hamazaki’s Son,” as he is known, uses his
wealth to fund a life incredibly foul sex crimes. One of his victims was the
wife of the “Mastermind,” a brilliant surgeon, who is not without means either.
is impossible to out-gun the bodyguards retained by Hamazaki’s Son, but there
is one place where he is relatively unprotected: an exclusive necrophilia club.
He has a plan to place Mayumi there, with a gun and thirteen bullets. She is a
meth addict he flat out bought expressly for the job. He trains her to become a
killing machine, but for reasons that will be only too clear, she will only have
twenty-two minutes to complete the hit.
it is important to emphasize this could be one of the roughest films at
Fantasia, or anywhere not regularly screening A Serbian Film. However, Asami earns all kinds of credit for her
bold, frequently naked and blood-splattered performance. Although she has
virtually no dialogue, she vividly portrays Mayumi’s evolution from drugged out
zombie to freaked out victim on the way to becoming a lethal killing machine.
all looks and sounds very Drafthousy, thanks to Mitsutake’s conscious efforts
to evoke a 1980s straight to-VHS vibe. This too requires a specialized taste.
However, his narrative structure serves the material surprisingly well. He also
elicits the perfect performances from his cast. Asami and Kairi Narita are both
totally hardcore as Mayumi and the Mastermind. Noriaki R. Kamata is off-the-charts
clammy and maniacal as Hamazaki’s Son, while Matthew Miller is appropriately
detached as the American assassin narrator.
Action does not get any sleazier than Gun Woman. One could easily object to it
on multiple moral and aesthetic grounds, but it stays true to Mitsutake’s
vision. If you have any doubts whether it is for you, then it most certainly is
not. Not advised for civilian consumption, it is best saved for fans of Asami
and the comparable work of Indonesian exploitation auteur Arizal. There are
probably intense debates still raging in Montreal following its Fantasia
premiere, but given the cult reputation of those involved, Gun Woman is likely to have legs, so consider yourself warned.
Labels: Asami, Fantasia '14, Japanese Cinema