June 14th, 2008

LEGENDS OF THE POISONOUS SEDUCTRESS: OKATSU THE FUGITIVE (1969) **

Apparently feudal Japan is a shitty place to live if you’re a tobacco farmer because you never know when some asshole will come up and slice you to pieces with a samurai sword.  That’s exactly what the bad guys in this flick do.  If you’re an honest hard-working tobacco farmer, chances are that a bunch of crooked town officials will kill you to steal your crops so they can sell it on the black market.  Okatsu (series regular Junko Miyasono) is a beautiful girl whose father is an upstanding peace officer who tries to battle the corrupt crop stealing villains and gets himself killed and his wife raped by the marauding bandits.  Luckily, Okatsu is a master swordswoman with mad skills, so for the next hour or so, she gets payback for her parents buying the farm with a sharp ass samurai sword. 

 

Okatsu the Fugitive is probably the weakest of the Legends of the Poisonous Seductress series.  After the cool title sequence, things get a little too plot heavy and the violence is kinda muted next to the more graphic (and fun) second film.  Miyazono’s performance is yet again the main reason to watch it, with the bloody sword battles coming in a close second.  There’s a decent amount of spurting blood and eye gouging, but again, not nearly as much as the previous entries. 

 

I have a soft spot in my heart for a hot chick brandishing a samurai sword, but even I have to admit, Okatsu the Fugitive left me a little cold.  The film does have it’s share of samurai duels, but the sluggish pacing and extraneous plot stuff ultimately sinks it. 

 

The major flaw of the three film Legends of the Poisonous Seductress series is that in each film, Miyazono plays three different samurai chicks.  I’m not sure why the filmmakers chose to have her play three different characters in three different stories (Sure, they all more or less go through the same stuff, but still.), instead of having her play one character who slowly progresses through a series of films.  While Miyazono is quite good in all three, the lack of continuity between the films is kind of a big turn-off for me.  Since there is nothing holding these three films together (save for Miyazono), I’d suggest only checking out the second flick, Quick-Draw Okatsu, and skipping this one and Part Uno entirely. 

 

Okatsu’s dad gets the best line of the movie:  “You are inferior to a bitch!”

 

AKA:  Okatsu the Fugitive.

AMAZONS AND SUPERMEN (1975) **

 

Man-hating Amazon women ride around the jungle using “worthless” men for arrow practice.  The people’s leader and protector is a dude named Dharma (no, not Jenna Elfman) who looks like a cross between King Arthur and Zorro and uses Vegas magician style technology to dupe them into thinking that he’s a God.  After Dharma is mortally wounded by the invading Amazons, he gets his youthful successor to take over his cheesy costume for him (shades of The Phantom).  The new Dharma joins up with two other “Supermen”, a black strongman (whose superpowers include industrial strength burps) and a Chinese kung fu expert/master swordsman to get revenge on those six foot tall dames.

 

Unfortunately it takes FOREVER for the three “Supermen” to finally join forces.

 

This is positively one of the most bizarre movies I’ve ever seen.  (That alone is a half-hearted recommendation.)  Medieval Times rejects fighting scantily clad women?  Check.  Guys being folded up and bounced around like human basketballs?  Uh-huh.  Tanks made entirely out of bamboo?  You got it dude.   

 

Although there is very little here in terms of “quality” entertainment, the movie is so downright ludicrous that’s it’s pretty hard to completely hate.  The constant comic relief is goofy as all get out and really isn’t all that funny, but that shitbox crazy score will stick in your head for days!  The silly feats of superhuman strength are some of the lamest you’ve seen since The Puma Man (lots of reverse motion effects are used so it looks like someone is jumping ONTO a tall building instead of from it), but it kinda adds to the movie’s ramshackle anything goes charm. 

 

I mean what did you really expect when the Shaw Brothers hire Italian exploitation hack Al (War of the Robots) Bradley to film a batshit insane Supermen vs. Amazon Women movie that goes by at least NINE alternate titles?

 

The old Dharma gets the best line of the movie:  “No peppers, no protection!”

 

AKA:  Amazons vs. Supermen.  AKA:  Amazons Against Supermen.  AKA:  Barbarian Revenge.  AKA:  Return of the Barbarian Women.  AKA:  Super Stooges vs. the Amazon Women.  AKA:  Supermen Against the Amazons.  AKA:  Three Fantastic Supermen.  AKA:  Three Stooges vs. The Wonder Women.