Recently seen movies #156

July 19, 2009

Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She Cat Gambler (Japan, 1972) – 4/5

Meiko Kaji returns in this sequel by name only follow up. She plays the same character as before, but the previous film is not referred in any way and the movies are also somewhat different in terms of style. The original found a charming balance between ninkyo yakuza atmosphere and mini skirts. Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2 also combines modern and past, but in a different way. Gambling scenes are plenty and feel almost as lifted from an early Showa era set yakuza film. Miss Kaji also spends most of her time wearing kimono. However, at the same time the pic is filled with club scenes, neon lights and early 70’s disco music, similarly to the Delinquent Girl Boss movies. The atmostphere is modern, even if many of the seminal elements have roots in the past. Comedy is also a major part of the film.

In terms of casting Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2 further closers the Delinquent Girl Boss movies. Tooru Yuri has a big supporting role – comedic of course – Junzaburo Ban plays an old man with a problematic father-daughter relationship, and Yukie Kagawa, whose absense from the first film was almost distracting, is given a rather unexciting role as a night club hostess. The biggest addition to the cast, however, is Shinichi Chiba. Chiba gives a very humoristic acting performance as a stammering small time goon who is a bit afraid of bigger players. Chiba’s action skills are put into use in the great finale where he and Kaji slaughter three times as many people as there are members in villains Fujio Suga and Hideo Murota’s gang. This is a great conclusion to a highly entertaining film that is more or less on par with the original. The storyline may not be very strong, but there is a wide variety of familiar and enjoyble genre elements on display. Fans of positively charged girl gang films should thoroughly enjoy Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2.

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