Sex & Fury/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
The film that originally made me a pinky violence fan hasn’t lost its charm. Norifumi Suzuki’s visually gorgeous mix of sex, gambling and highly-stylized action is still one of the most entertaining films in the genre. Sex & Fury stars genre queen Reiko Ike as a 17th century gambler and pickpocket who’s after the three men who killed her father when she was a child. Supporting roles feature several genre veterans such as Yoko Mihara, Rie Saotome and, most notably, Swedish cult actress Christina Lindberg as a British spy... which doesn’t make much sense since she speaks English with a heavy Swedish accent. But it’s a cute accent and that’s what matters more than common sense. It should also be noted that some of the dresses she wears in the film don’t exactly belong to Meiji Era, but who cares.
Sex and Fury would seem to have its roots in the traditional yakuza/gambling genre. Those films were very popular in the late 60’s and Suzuki himself was the man behind several legendary Red Peony Gambler (Hibotan bakuto) movies. Not having seen those film myself (yet), I can’t say how much Sex & Fury lifts from that genre. Gambling, however, is not the main theme in Sex and Fury and Suzuki allows more room for action and exploitation. Also (not for the first time and definitely not the last), Suzuki utilizes religious imagery, which works quite nicely.
If there’s a problem in the film, it’s the amount of sex scenes. It may bother some, but Suzuki’s direction adds quite a bit to them. The scenes are very colourful and artistic and usually there’s more about them than just the sex and nudity. I managed to view most of them without getting bored, so, they’re not a huge problem. Besides, small flaws like that will be forgotten as soon as Suzuki turns the action gear on. The bath house / snow garden fight, where a naked Reiko Ike takes on a group as gangsters, holds up as possibly the best choreographed sword fight ever shot on film. The scene is incredible, cinematic poetry from start to finish. The rest of the fights don’t reach the same level of excellence, but they’re a lot of fun as well. It' s always a pleasure to see a half-naked Reiko slaughter a roomful of yakuzas.
Reviewed by HungFist