Fantasia Fest 2014: GUN WOMAN Review


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Release Date: TBD
Director: Kurando Mitsutake
MPAA Rating: NR

With a title like Gun Woman, there’s a certain expectation one has even before knowing anything about the film. In the case of Kurando Mitsutake’s latest grindhouse throwback, it delivers on its title and them some. This is a nasty little film that should only be viewed by the most ardent exploitation fans who know that, in this genre, sometimes bad is actually good.

Gun Woman is a blood-soaked, depraved, ludicrous and very explicit revenge tale, structured exactly how one would expect. The film opens with the murder of a woman in a shower, followed by a conversation between two hitmen. One of the men begins telling the story of a girl named Mayumi (played by Asami) and how she was rescued from a life of drugs and prostitution to become a weapon of revenge.

The three acts of the film play out very simply: set up, training montage, pay off.  While this classic revenge thriller structuring may not bring anything new to the table, the content surely does. Mitsutake strives to make the most disgusting, deplorable, violent and exploitative film he can, and for that, it succeeds.  The training sequences feel overly long and look like they were shot on an iPhone, and the music is terrible. Our consolation is the absolute over-the-top slaughter that is the third act.  The end credits also provide us with an original song called “Gun Woman,” which is everything one could ask for in a cheesy exploitation theme.

Working for a doctor whose wife was raped and murdered by a sadistic killer, Mayumi infiltrates an exclusive club in the desert that specializes in providing corpses to rich necrophiliacs for their, ahem, pleasure. There are strictly no guns allowed. After posing as a corpse, she springs back to life, rips open stiches where she has surgically implanted pieces of her handgun in her own body, assembles her weapon, and slaughters everyone. This sequence is pure insanity, with Asami wearing nothing but the blood of herself and her enemies.

Aside from some spotty CG blood effects, the practical gore used in Gun Woman looks quite good and provides a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Gallons of blood are used, and some of the film heads into body-horror territory, which will surely make you squirm.

There was promise of a sequel, which may further develop the character of Mayumi, but if you’re looking for any kind of substance in this one, you’re going to be disappointed. Asami has proven herself something of a Japanese gore queen, with roles in The Machine Girl, Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead, Dead Sushi, and the five, yes, five, Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead movies. She certainly shows off her abilities as an action heroine here, but her character barely emotes, similar to Christina Lindberg in They Call Her One Eye.

Everything in Gun Woman is completely and purposely tasteless, in an attempt to channel the pinky violence pictures of the ‘70s, and it mostly succeeds. At times, Gun Woman is laughably bad, but that’s ultimately the intent. With subject matter this horrific, it would simply be too hard to watch, were it not so cartoonish and poorly made. In that regard, the people who seek out Gun Woman, will probably like Gun Woman. Anyone who doesn’t know what it is going into it will most likely find it to be offensive, tasteless garbage.

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