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Recently seen movies #119

March 28, 2009

Sukeban: Escape From Reform School (Japan, 1973) – 3/5

The fifth Sukeban film changes some key players; Norifumi Suzuki is gone for good, replaced by Sadao Nakajima, and Reiko Ike is taking her first day off. In the opening scene Miki Sugimoto tries to run from the officials, but is captured and thrown to a dark cell with her hands tied and shirt removed (of course). After some 30 minutes of passable women in reform school entertainment the film kicks off when the girls escape. Sugimoto meets a man running from the law (Tsunehiko Watase), while the other girls have their own adventures. Escape From Reform School isn’t a classic film, however, it’s an enjoyable representative of a classic genre. A bit surprisingly yakuza-director Nakajima gives even more room to erotic content than his predecessor, and does quite successfully. There isn’t too much violence, but the action packed ending is very satisfying. Good soundtrack as well.

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Sukeban: Diamond Showdown (Japan, 1974) – 3/5

Ikuo Sekimoto grabs the director’s wheel in the sixth girl boss film. Reiko Ike is back, but Miki Sugimoto didn’t return to the series anymore. Tsunehiko Watase (antihero with sunglasses) and Toru Abe (slimy villain, as usual) play the primary male roles. Sekimoto later helmed some miserable pinky dramas but this film is solid girl gang fun with catfights every 15 minutes and Ike’s girls putting holes into the male yakuzas. There’s one rather strong torture scene but the overall tone is easy going… especially when the bad girls go for a picnic with Funky Monkey Baby by Carol rocking the soundtrack.

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Sukeban – Crazy Ball Game (Japan, 1974) – 3/5

The final showdown. Ike and Sugimoto are both missing but Yuko Kano does surprisingly good gob as the new delinquent girl boss. After 6 instalments it’s nice to see a new face in the lead role. Concept-wise director Sekimoto’s second try follows the same functional patters as the earlier films; Kano and her gang draw up a diamond heist plan, but Toru Abe (again) fights back. The nasty villain is backed up by Ema Ryoko, whose biggest star moment comes in the beginning when she and her girls – all dressed in white school uniforms – confront Kano’s gang. Another memorable moment is the silly and sunny ’running topless on the beach’ scene. Like the previous film, Crazy Ball Game a fun girl gang action film with a couple of more graphic violent scenes. A good way to end a long running series.

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