Exploitation films have had their niche in films ever since the dawn of World Cinema. While Bollywood has been a tad bit slow and squeamish about embracing this particular genre and when they did the genre was stripped off its rawness and presented either in a superfluous manner or not presented at all. The Japanese have however over the years made it a point to put out one cult classic in the genre after the other and in the same line they came up with films like Batoru Rowaiaru, Machine Girl and now Gun Woman. Raw and unforgiving as it is, Gun Woman is one film which will shock you with its unperturbed violence, sexuality and interestingly enough, the wonderful performances by its characters.
The film tells the story of Mastermind (Kairi Narita), a doctor who is brutally assaulted and his wife murdered by the unscrupulous gang lord Hamazaki’s son (Noriaki Kamata). The doctor is left crippled and blind in one eye. He pledges revenge and thinks of a unique way to kill of Hamazaki’s son. The dude being a necrophilic is known to come to a place where he has his heart’s pleasure molesting corpses. The doctor decides to replace a corpse with a live woman who has a dissembled gun inside her body. All she has to do is reassemble the gun cutting it out of her body and shoot the bugger. The constraints in his path are not only finding a girl to do it but how to train and prepare her for the job.
A big chunk of the film is spent on the training of the Gun Woman who is picked within the first fifteen minutes of the film. The girl is first made sober from her addition and then trained in the most inhuman manner possible turning her into the ultimate weapon with which to kill the unsavory gangster. The film presents a grotesque picture of not only the training but every other aspect of it. Take for instance the adversary, Hamazaki’s son. He is presented not as an evil and all powerful maniac but as someone hateable and immensely detestable. There is something very flawed and wrong about his appearance and everytime you lay an eye on him, you want him dead. He is detestable to the extent that every time you look at him, you feel like puking.
The action sequences are as much about blood as it is about the sheer beauty of grotesque. I believe beauty and grotesque are two words which doesn’t necessarily go together but you have to watch this film to understand exactly what I mean. The way the plot thickens and the very idea behind film and the way in which it is made believable is what lies in the core of the success of the film. The whole story is narrated by a third person whose existence is explained only by the time the film ends. The climax is worth the price of admission and if you are a lover of the genre, you are bound to fall in love with it and will remember it for a while. I believe that’s compliment enough for a film of this genre.
A word about the performances, Kairi Narita as the mastermind is utterly believable and that’s what makes his performance great. It’s so easy to go over the top in these kinds of films, but he makes it a point to keep his essay under a tight grip. The result is that his pain and sufferings are transferred to the audience who go on to connect with his character and result in them being a part of his revenge. Asami as the gun woman is flawless. It not an Oscar worthy essay, her performance is well beyond the bars of the Exploitation cinema. She starts off as a recovering addict and gradually grows in to believe in the mastermind’s cause and doing whatever it takes to achieve it. She is electric in the action sequences and looks gorgeous even in the most rag tag of costumes.
People come to exploitation cinema for violence, sex, macabre and endless entertainment. Gun Woman is a film which will provide you with all those elements in abundant quantity with something that few exploitation films provide. By that I mean good performances, a somewhat believable story and above all characters you can connect to. For all this and more, Gun Woman is a superb watch. If you are lover of the genre then don’t miss it at any cost.