No fucking way! Really?
This one belongs right up there with some of the wackiest, craziest, off the wall, off the gurney, outlandish, surreal, absurd, kinky, peculiarly erotic, bizarre, far out, and amusingly freakish films ever made.
When the blog was still a drawing-room conversation, this is exactly what I had in mind to share with you, the keen, curious, unassuming viewers. This and another film, which will be published soon for your reading pleasure and also to decide if you really want to watch some seriously wild cinema.
I’ve always been of the opinion that trying to make a live-action Manga is a tight-rope balancing act. Ichi the Killer, 2001 being an early exceptional presentation. Manga and before that, Japan herself introduced the over-the-top action set-pieces, the hyperbolic sequences, tons of pig-blood, and full frontal for the entire feature-length, with real actors. This was The Spaghetti Western evolving. Someone was having a mental breakdown. A total bloody meltdown of the senses. It could’ve been director Kurando Mitsutake (Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf, 2009).
Gun Woman is camp and simply put, it is a movie that could have simply done without the elaborate, epic revenge narrative, for it does not necessarily need one, but if the build-up wasn’t there, the film wouldn’t be categorized as such, rather end up being a B-grade softcore Japanese Pinku; which it still is; doesn’t matter if Mitsutake took the trouble to have a character named Mastermind (Kairi Narita) train a lady of the night, with addiction problems and then some, into a strait-laced killing machine, an uncompromising assassin and freaking how. I mean Gun Woman, Mayumi (cult actress Asami) is buck naked, without a single stitch (not counting the ER medical procedure, requiring Sutures to keep the torn skin tissue together) throughout the film, whose sheer physicality is praiseworthy and electrifying and defying common sense, replacing it with a warped ideology of characters who don’t look like they’re from around here.
They are straight from the ’80s, and so is the entire treatment of this Manga meets Grindhouse flick; the one thing that the keen viewer cannot dismiss easily. The combination is like a film equivalent of speed-odd-ball. Fuck. All that blood and sweat and gore and mutilations and catfight… This picture is bloody insane.
Another thing that the film has going for it, is the character of Gun Woman/Mayumi (Asami). The protagonist has the face of the girl next door; however, according to the film, she is the goddess Athena herself. Goddess of Athena, naked and dispensing rounds after rounds of a 9mm (or three surgically inserted into her breasts – I’m telling you this shit is mad) into the baddies.
Special shout out to the training sequence initiation, when Mastermind brings in a woman and cuts her at the exact same places as he would cut Mayumi, to implant a dismantled weapon (a 9mm Glock) into her body. He’s training on various working-women before bringing in the real deal. Now all surgical procedures are not successful, so we have a few women of the night to go before Mayumi can handle the implants, not silicon but metal and steel.
The filmmakers then bring in the ‘such is not the case‘ Mastermind, showing and telling Mayumi what her body will experience after she has recovered the weapon from inside her (by tearing the stitches) and how long will it take for shock, de-realization, blindness to set in and finally death to occur if she does not make it out of The Room in twenty-two minutes.
Now that’s pressure.
The film shows us the entire surgery and does not shy away from the needles and flesh and boobies and scalpel and the surgical-saw for a moment, even when Mayumi tears her stitches apart and fights in the nude (it reminded me of Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises, 2007 – however that was Cronenberg, and this is full-blown Manga)
Oliver Stone, Tarantino, Kamal Haasan among others have used animation to add surreal fireworks to their pictures; a gentle swing of the blade results in tons of blood being splattered all over as the victim goes down with eyes wide open. Tarantino may have used the sequence to manipulate the MPAA into getting an under-age sex scene approved, with a gentle R and not the daunting NC17 or even an X, for the O-Ren Ishii backstory, in Kill Bill, 2003.
God bless Asami (The Machine Girl, 2008 and Sukeban Boy, 2006) and her dedication to the new-wave of extreme Japanese cinema, the Asia Extreme. Sometimes the nudity and the bushy venus get in the way, but hey; who’s complaining, I dig the trim.
The film is an exaggeration of everything B Grade. The gore overhaul and bleached colors and a loose plot add to the guilty pleasure. If this kinda stuff appeals to you. It just might not, Endgame was so damn big, it seems to have taken over the collective psyche. Do the Russo Brothers have a PhD in sequential capitalism? Just asking.
Watch it when you’re stoned (it is a stoner film) and you’ll be laughing or cringing like nuts while at it. Although the discomfort remains even without the help of any psychotropic agents. Plus the munchies are not included in this equation. All is not in good taste here.
Mind the gap, bitch, please.