Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2 She-Cat Gambler|
Actors: Meiko Kaji, Sonny Chiba
Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
The Ginza Butterfly Nami (Meiko Kaji, returning to her role from the original) is back in a new story that finds her on the hunt for Hoshiden, the man who killed her gambler father when she was only a child. Arriving in To... more »
As good as it gets!
UbiK | 07/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Meiko Kaji and Shinichi Sonny Chiba are two names that should get any Yakuza film fans going!
If not - stop reading now!
Considering this sequel to WANDERING GINZA BUTTERFLY was made only a year after the first, the difference could not be any more obvious both stylistically and for the compelling performance of Meiko.
The first film was a very conservatively directed, by-the-numbers effort with a sub-par storyline focusing on pool of all things. In SHE-CAT we have our ice-cool kimono-clad queen slashing her way through the corrupt gambling dens of Tokyo on a quest to find her father's killer. Sure the story-line is familiar to genre fans but with Meiko supported by Sonny we get a powerhouse finale that's worth the wait!
Certainly, director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi's stylish flourishes are let down occasionally by some extremely risible wardrobe choices for some of the supporting cast (but it's the 70s so we'll just let that slide... maybe...) and there's probably one too many comic-relief characters (one of which serves no purpose than to to die with a funny line of dialogue!) but overall he balances the slapstick and the melodrama well and gets in some very nice shots.
Sonny turns in a fun performance as a stuttering small-time Yakuza on the way up and most of his storyline is played for laughs (check out his reaction when the hayseed Yakuza introduces himself while he's in the bath) but the scene-stealer is of course Meiko.
Apart from one scene, Meiko spends the whole movie tightly wrapped up in a kimono (in fact she is the only woman in the film to do so), bringing a quaintly traditional yet untouchably powerful image that, combined with her trademark sexy confidence and cool understatement, reduces most of the cast around her to one-dimensional caricatures. With Meiko it's always been about self-control, cool unattainability and those eyes! Connoisseurs of her iconic glares in SASORI or YUKIHIME won't be disappointed here! But - be warned - don't expect a performance of that same intensity. SHE-CAT is not as serious or explicitly violent as Meiko's other, better-known, roles.
Having said that, in all her films I think it is the last scene by the bay at sunrise in SHE-CAT that has Meiko at her most beautiful and should be appreciated by any of her devotees. (It's a moment I think that is second only to the sublime ending of the 2nd SASORI entry, JAILHOUSE 41, where she and her fellow prisoners are running through the streets of Tokyo - but that film is a work of artistic genius and so it's probably an unfair comparison!)
So it's a lot of fun and Meiko is just perfect!"