This week in the Grindhouse we’ll be taking a look at another Pinky Violence film with Noribumi Suzuki’s 1973 classic, Sex & Fury. While on the surface, this bloody martial arts film appears to be nothing more than a softcore porn flick that features some ridiculous over the top violence, the cinematography alone makes it stand out as something much more artful. The dialogue is cheesy, the story is slightly absurd, and Suzuki makes everything as exploitative as possible, but it looks so damn good, it’s hard not to recommend this film.
Sex and Fury stars Reiko Ike as Ocho, a badass gambler and thief who uncovers the identity of her father’s killer after twenty years of searching. Ocho is as deadly with a sword as she is on the poker table, and seems to prefer fighting with at least one breast exposed at all times.
As Ocho plots her revenge against the men that were responsible for her father’s death, an English spy gets into the mix and further complicates what was to be a simple assassination. This spy is played by Christina Lindberg, who you may know from another exploitation classic, Thriller (AKA They Call Her One Eye).
Like many movies of this ilk and as the name implies, Sex and Fury is chock full of sex and violence, both done in an extremely over the top fashion. Nearly all the men in this film are rapists, with the exception of Tadashi Naruse, who plays Shunosuke, the leader of an opposition movement hell bent on killing the same man responsible for Ocho’s father’s demise. Although I always hate it when films contain scenes of rape, rest assured that these horrible men get what’s coming to them.
The violence in Sex & Fury is similar to others like Shogun Assassin, where limbs are flying everywhere with geysers of blood spraying everything in sight. Since the film takes place in the early 1900s, most of the action is with swords and knives, however there are a few shootouts which aren’t nearly as impressive. One of the most iconic scenes, and a clear inspiration for Tarantino’s Kill Bill, involves Ocho slaying dozens of baddies while fully nude in a snowy courtyard.
Along with the action, the cinematography is notably well done in Sex & Fury. The camera work is impeccable, and the artistic flourishes used in certain scenes are entirely too good for a movie like this. One standout involves a confrontation in a room where a projector is displaying an old film on the wall. The lighting in this scene is incredible and helps elevate the film from the gutter it would certainly remain in were it not for these elements.
Sex and Fury is a nasty little film, but the payoff at the end is big, and the great looking production values and visuals make it a notch above other Japanese exploitation films of this era. For fans of revenge flicks and bloody carnage, this one is definitely worth a look.