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FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

3 mins read

FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION REVIEWED

“Female Prisoner Scorpion” is a popular Asian film series that never quite caught on with American film geeks. Said geeks seemed to prefer Meiko Kaji in Lady Snowblood before these films. Why didn’t these Women in Prison movies take off? Well, they didn’t stay Women in Prison movies. The formula behind the films switches halfway through the series.

Watching as Nami moves from victimized female prisoner to agent of chaos is interesting. Sure, the cast is dominated by strong female characters. But, watching Nami break down due the harsh prison life is something staggering. The social commentary against police torture and profiling feels odd coming out of Asia. But, many forget how intense these problems were in that era. Distance has a weird effect on history.

The directing shifts in the later films kinda pushes the narrative a certain way. But, I feel that if you can stick with the message of the first two movies, the latter makes more sense. Compared to the recent Nikkatsu releases, these movies feel far more coherent. If you were ever a fan of Meiko Kaji, I’d recommend a purchase.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Limited Edition Blu-ray collection (3000 copies)
  • Brand new 2K restorations of all four films in the series presented on High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD
  • Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays) for all films
  • Optional English subtitles for all films
  • Double-sided fold out poster of two original artworks
  • Reversible sleeves for all films featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan
  • Booklet featuring an extract from Unchained Melody: The Films of Meiko Kaji, an upcoming book on the star by critic and author Tom Mes, an archive interview with Meiko Kaji, and a brand new interview with Toru Shinohara, creator of the original Female Pri
  • Newly filmed appreciation by filmmaker Gareth Evans (The Raid)
  • Archive interview with director Shunya Ito
  • New interview with assistant director Yutaka Kohira
  • Theatrical Trailers for all films in the series
  • Newly filmed appreciation by critic Kier-La Janisse
  • Japanese cinema critic Jasper Sharp looks over the career of Shunya Ito
  • New interview with production designer Tadayuki Kuwana
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Newly filmed appreciation by critic Kat Ellinger
  • Archive interview with director Shunya Ito
  • New visual essay on the career of star and icon Meiko Kaji by critic Tom Mes
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Newly filmed appreciation by filmmaker Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (Kichiku: Banquet of the Beasts)
  • Archive interview with director Yasuharu Hasebe
  • Japanese cinema critic Jasper Sharp looks over the career of Yasuharu Hasebe
  • Visual essay on the Scorpion series by critic Tom Mes
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

A/V STATS

  • 2.35:1 1080p transfer
  • LPCM Mono

RELEASE DATE: 8/9/16

  • 95%
    Video - 95%
  • 92%
    Audio - 92%
  • 97%
    Supplemental Material - 97%
  • 93%
    Film Score - 93%
94%

The Plot Thus Far

Starring the iconic and beautiful Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood, Stray Cat Rock) in a role that came to define her career, the four-film Female Prisoner Scorpion series charts the vengeance of Nami Matsushima, who assumes the mantle of “Scorpion,” becoming an avatar of vengeance and survival, and an unlikely symbol of female resistance in a male-dominated world. Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion introduces Nami, a gullible young woman unjustly imprisoned, who must find a way to escape in order to exact revenge upon the man who betrayed her. The visually avant-garde Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 sees director Shunya Ito and star Meiko Kaji re-unite as Nami and six other female convicts escape prison once more. The Gothic horror-inspired Beast Stable finds Nami branded public enemy #1 and on the run. She soon finds refuge with a sympathetic prostitute, but runs afoul of a local gang. The final film in the series, #701’s Grudge Song (from director Yasuharu Hasebe, Retaliation, Massacre Gun), shows a gentler side of Nami as she falls in with Kudo, an ex-radical suffering from physical and psychological trauma caused by police torture. Spiritual kin to Ms. 45, Coffy and The Bride Wore Black, the Female Prisoner Scorpion is the pinnacle of early 1970s exploitation cinema from Japanese grindhouse studio Toei, and one of the greatest female revenge sagas ever told.

TroyAnderson

Troy Anderson is the Owner/Editor-in-Chief of AndersonVision. He uses a crack team of unknown heroes to bring you the latest and greatest in Entertainment News.

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