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Delinquent Girl: Alleycat in Heat

Nikkatsu, Japan, 1973
AKA: Furyô Shôjo: Noraneko No Seishun, Delinquent girl: Stray Cat in Heat
Director: Chûsei Sone
Writer: Norio Miyashita
Cast: Yûko Katagiri, Setsuko Ôyama, Eimei Esumi, Jôji Sawada, Hyôe Enoki, Hidetoshi Kageyama, Akira Takahashi, Michiko Komori

Hatoko is a farm girl from Osaka. She has a lover whom she meets for a “roll in the hay” on a regular basis. They decide to elope together to Tokyo. Hatoko lives with her single mother who is having an affair with the local pharmacist. He is flirting with Hatoko and trying to feel her up, and her mother doesn’t seem to care.

When Hatoki gets to the train station all dressed up and ready for the big city, her lover doesn’t show. She waits for a long time and then she tries to phone him, but he doesn’t answer. Eventually she has to board the train without him and go to Tokyo all by her self. At the station in Tokyo a man in a suit is watching her and when she leaves he follows her. When Hatoko is approached by another man he drags her away. He tells her the other man is dangerous, that she is to naive and goodhearted for her own good, but that he, Gomame, can take care of her. He takes her home and tries to rape her. He doesn’t have to as she likes him and agrees to have sex with him. While their at it two neighburs walks in and they have sex with her to when Gomame is done.

At night Gomame steals Hatokos money from her handbag. He’s a gambler betting on horses but he looses and he owes money to the yakuza. The yakuza tells him his debt is paid if they can have Hatoko. When home alone Hatoko peeps on the two neighbors having sex with girls and teaching them to strip and doing lesbian shows. When Gomame comes home he lies about trying to find a job. Hatoko offers to help and he gets her a jobb as a masseuse in a Turkish bath giving “happy endings”. Eventually Gomame gets impotent when thinking of her work and he agrees to sell her to the yakuza.

Hatoko is moved to the home of Gorô, a yakuza and a customer at the bath. He falls in love with her and asks the boss to give her to him, but the boss refuses. His decision is Hatoko will work as a whore for the yakuza.

This is a tragic story really, about a girl that is let down and used by everyone she trusts. However she doesn’t see it that way. When she runs into Gomame years later he apologies to her for selling her to the yakuza, but she says it’s OK. She’s doing fine and whatever has happened to her didn’t really matter.

My verdict: 4 out of 10.

Delinquent Girl Boss: Tokyo Drifters

Delinquent Girl Boss: Tokyo Drifters

Toei Company, Japan, 1970
AKA: Zubekô banchô: Tôkyô nagaremono, Girl Vagrants of Tokyo
Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Writer: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, Norio Miyashita
Cast: Reiko Oshida, Yukie Kagawa, Masumi Tachibana, Tsunehiko Watase, Mieko Tsudoi, Tamami Natsu, Tōru Yuri, Akira Hitomi, Akira Ôizumi, Hachiro Azuma, Sanji Kojima, Kichijirô Ueda, Toshiaki Minami, Chikako Miyagi, Tonpei Hidari, Kôji Nanbara

This is the second Delinquent Girl Boss film about Rika. Last time we saw her, she and her girlfriends were in the back of a prison transport on their way to Akagi Girls School for juvenile delinquents. One of the girls is pregnant and management won’t let her see her boyfriend to discuss the situation, so Rika and the other girls riot and stages a mass escape. They get caught but their pregnant friend manages to get away, and that was the purpose of it anyway.

One year later Rika is released and works at a toyfactory. Just like in Delinquent Girl Boss: Blossoming Night Dreams she looses her job for not sleeping with her boss. She goes looking for a new job and is robbed by a pick pocket. A handsome street vendor interferes and she gets her money back. Then she runs into a man who offers her a job. He brings her to see his boss, Madame.

Madame is the head of the Gasetora clan. Once a big organisation of streetvendors, but since her son left only herself and the man who brought Rika there remains. Just as in the previous film it turns out Madame has been an inmate at the same facility Rika comes from, and soon Rikas friends start working as street vendors for Madame to. All except one, Senmitsu, who is working in a brothel.

Autumn festival is coming up and for some reason the Yakuza want to run the Gasetora clan out of business and take over their stalls at the festival. They threaten all the suppliers so the Gasetoras have nothing to sell, but Rika and her friends gets merchendise from the toyfactory where she used to work in exchange for not telling on the supervisor who tried to get her in bed. When there is business as usuall the Yakuza trashes their boots and there is a big fight. The handsome street vendor from earlier shows up and turns out to be Madames lost son Bon.

Senmitsu’s boyfriend has asked her to marry him, but he is a Yakuza and his boss wants 1.000.000 yen to let him go. Senmitsu works overtime to get the money but the Yakuza isn’t satisfied. They want her boyfriend to do one last job for them – to murder Madame. He sees no way out, but is tricked by his former friends and is killed to. Rika, Senmitsu and the four other girls from Akagi dresses up in long red coats and red hats and goes to take revenge on the Yakuza.

The last part of the film is a big swordfight between the girls and the Yakuza. Bon has learned about his mothers murder and turns up to help the girls and to kill the head of the Yakuza.

Delinquent Girl Boss: Tokyo Drifters feels more like a remake of the first one than a sequel. Except for the riot and mass escape in the beginning and the showdown with the Yakuza towards the end, the story is thin and a bit slow. It’s not as dark as the first one, but the swordfight at the end is much more violent and bloody than the showdown in the previous film. It’s not bad but not as good as the first one.

My verdict: 4 out of 10.

The Night Visitor

The Night Visitor

Hemisphere Pictures, Glazier, USA, Sweden, Panama, 1971
AKA: Lunatic, Salem Come to Supper
Director: Laslo Benedek
Writer: Guy Elmes, Samuel Roeca
Cast: Max von Sydow, Trevor Howard, Liv Ullmann, Per Oscarsson, Rupert Davies, Andrew Keir, Jim Kennedy, Arthur Hewlett, Hanne Bork, Gretchen Franklin, Bjørn Watt-Boolsen, Lotte Freddie, Erik Kühnau

Salem is in an asylum for the criminally insane, convicted of the axemurder of a farmhand. He claims he is innocent, that he was framed by his sister and her husband, and that he was misrepresented by his lawyer. At the trial his lawer changed the plea from not guilty to guilty by reason of insanity at the last minute, and thus getting Salem off jail but still locked away.

Two years after the trial things start to get weird at the farm where his two sisters, Emmie and Ester, and his brother in law, Dr. Anton Jenks, still live. There is some tension between the sisters as Anton and Ester wants to sell the family farm, while Emmie refuses. Ester and Anton owns one third and also controls Salems part, but Emmie still owns one third so they can’t really do anything unless they can make her change her mind, or if she would die and leave her part to Ester.

Dr. Jenks get called away to a house nearby where the daughter has been found dead in her bed. He can see she has ben strangled and when he opens his bag there are hypodermic needles and sedatives missing but for some reason they have been exchanged for several of his own ties. He suspect his wife for this and confront her when he gets back home. Their parrot drives him mad by repeating “Hit him Anton” over and over but when he throws the cage to the floor the parrot gets loose.

Anton claims he saw Salem standing in a closet when chasing the parrot. He believes Salem somehow has found a way to sneak out from the asylum at night and then sneak back in again. Maybe to get revenge and hurt the people responsible for putting him there in the first place. Ester doesn’t know what to believe and starts to doubt she can trust her husbands sanity.

Salem is a skilled chess player, and at the asylum he plays with one of the wardens. In The Seventh Seal Max von Sydow portraits a knight who plays chess with Death. The Seventh Seal was of course directed by Ingmar Bergman who is the father of Liv Ullmans daughter Linn. In Troell’s The Emigrants and The New Land von Sydow and Ullman plays husband and wife. To americans von Sydow is probably most known as Father Merrin from The Exorcist. He never played chess with the Devil though.

The Night Visitor is a straight forward told story, even if there is some sort of twist a la Edgar Allan Poe at the end. There is also a lot of Max von Sydow running in the snow in his underwear.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.

Delinquent Boss: Ocho, the She Wolf

Furyô banchô: Inoshika Ochô

Toei Company, Japan, 1969
AKA: Furyô banchô: Inoshika Ochô, Wolves of the City, Wolves of the City: The Hussy and the Hooligans, Delinquent Boss & Inoshika Ocho
Director: Yukio Noda
Writer: Tarô Bonten, Isao Matsumoto, Hideaki Yamamoto
Cast: Tatsuo Umemiya, Shin’ichi Chiba, Shigeru Katsumi, Tetsurô Tanba, Seizaburô Kawazu, Fumio Watanabe, Junko Miyazono, Kôji Nanbara, Michitarô Mizushima, Tamaki Sawa, Bunta Sugawara

Delinquent Boss: Ochô the She Wolf is the second (of 17) films in the Delinquent Boss or Wolves of the City saga, wich is based on a manga. Kosaka Hiroshi, the leader of the biker gang is locked up in Kurihama Juvenile Detention Centre where he forms a brotherhood with four other delinquents. They plan to break out but a Yakuza member, of the Teishin Group, tell the guards and instead there is a huge fight.

Five years later Kosaka is out on the streets again with his biker buddies. They run a garage and a dance studio(!). The dance studio is really a front for their more shady business. What they do is they teach young women to dance and sends them to London and Paris to work as dancers, but in reality they sell them into prostitution. Anyway one by one the other members of the brotherhood turns up and join Kosaka in his business.

Business is good. Maybe to good and they get into a conflict with the Teishin Group. When the Teshin Group closes down Kosakas business he is desperate for cash and decides to get back at the Yakuza by teaming up with Ochô, a female wandering professional gambler, and try to blackmail the Teshin Group. Ochô’s speciality when fighting is making oponents blind by throwing playing cards in their eyes. Her character became very popular and she later turned up in several other films outside of the Delinquent Boss series.

One of the five brothers, Gogo, grew up without his father who left when he was just a child. When Gogo is captured by the Teishin group it turns out his father is now a high ranking member of the Yakuza. His father tries to save him but they die together in a rain of bullets. Kosaka realizes he and his friends are loosing, but decides to avenge Gogo so the remaining brothers, the biker gang and Ochô plans an armed attack on the Teishin Group to take them out once and for all.

The film is entertaining. Sometimes the characters act a bit silly, but I think that’s because the actors are (and look) much older then their characters are supposed to be. You sort of forget that they are supposed to be juvenile delinquents when they look somewhere around 30.

My verdict: 5 out of 10.

Shark Lake

Shark Lake

Bottom Line Entertainment/FLF Films/Parkside Pictures/Tadross Media Group/Verdi Productions, USA, 2015
AKA: The Lake
Director: Jerry Dugan
Writer: Gabe Burnstein, David Anderson
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Sara Malakul Lane, Lily Brooks O’Briant, Michael Aaron Milligan, Lance E. Nichols, Kay Galvin, James Chalke, Frederick Douglas Plunkett Jr., Ibrahim Renno, Miles Doleac, Ted Ferguson, Carol Ann Scruggs, Melissa Bolona, Jeremy Jude, Matalin Rayborn, Kelsey Deanne, Bobby C. King, Kim Baptiste, Ele Bardha, Andrew Stern, John Ceallach, James Donald, S.T. Streetman, Christine Hilts, Jermaine Hines, Hannah Jacole Powell-Yost, Jerry Atkinson Jr., Gage Banister, Alexandra Bujan, London Curtis, Greg Faul, Richard Maximus Fleming-Vlamingen, Tom Holzhauser, Philip Schreck, Lauren Margaret Wills

Dolph Lundgren is Clint Gray, an animal trafficker. He finds rare and dangerous animals for people who are willing to pay. According to the police he has, among other things, kept a burmese python, a wolf and a tiger in his house. In his van on his way to deliver such an animal, his house is raided by the police. There’s a high speed pursuit ending with Clint going of the road and into the lake. He gets shot by a female deputy, and ends up in jail.

Five years later he is released. The same deputy who shoot him has taken care of his daughter Carly while he was gone, and she is determined to do whatever she can to stop him from seeing her. At the same time some wild animal attacks and kills an old man at the lake. Everyone thinks it’s a bear so they find a bear and shoot it. Well it wasn’t a bear but a shark living in the lake. On the night of his arrest Clint was delivering the shark to some Mafia guy and when he crashed into the lake the shark got away.

This Mafia guy had paid for the shark so he figures Clint either pay him back or catches the shark for him. He threatens to hurt Carly if he doesn’t get it his way. The police is trying to catch the shark aided by a creepy wildlife documentary host and when that doesn’t work out so well they plan for a reward that will make every fisherman by or close to the lake want to catch it.

Carly sneaks off to go look for her dad. He’s not home so she checks out his boat. She is reported missing and police suspects Clint has kidnapped her. He doesn’t know Carly is hidden aboard as he goes shark fishing.

Everyone and his mother seem to really hate this film. OK, the story might be a bit predictable and the CGI looks pretty cheap, but apart from that I don’t think it’s to bad. It’s got Dolph and it’s got sharks. What else could You want?

My verdict: 6 out of 10.

The Punisher

New World Pictures (Australia)/Marvel Entertainment/New World Pictures, Australia/USA, 1989
AKA:
Director: Mark Goldblatt
Writer: Boaz Yakin
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeroen Krabbé, Kim Miyori, Bryan Marshall, Nancy Everhard, Barry Otto, Brian Rooney, Zoska Aleece, Kenji Yamaki, Hirofumi Kanayama, Larry McCormick, Todd Boyce, Lani John Tupu, Gianfranco Negroponte, Noga Bernstein, Emma Soloman, Courtney Keiler, Emily Nicol, Cathy Stirk, Dominic Baudish, Robert Fraser, James Klein, Fotis Pelekis, Christian Manon, Colin Leong, Brian McDermott, May Lloyd, Holly Rogers, Brooke Anderson, Lois Larimore, Harry Weiss, John Samaha, Robert Simper, Johnny Raaen, Lawrence Woodward, Tom Coltraine, Donal Gibson, David Arnett, Brett Williams, Al Gockimen, Colin Handley, Isao Hirata, Ken Wayne, David Morris, Richard Carter, Char Fontane, Aku Kadogo, Steve Kuhn, Roslyn Gentle, Maurice Brimo, Joanna Lambert, Arthur Sherman, Chris Hession, Jade Gatt

When Police Officer Frank Castle’s family was killed by a car bomb by the Mafia everyone thaught he died with them. He didn’t. Instead he went underground and resurfaced as “The Punisher”. He is out to avenge his family and to punish the guilty.

The Punisher is suspected of the murder of 125 members of organised crime during the last five years, and wanted by the law and the outlaws. When the head of the Franco crime family is released by the court, The Punisher, wipes out him, most of his men and blows his house up. The Franco family brings in Gianni Franco from Europe to take over as the new head. He brings new ideas about uniting the different crime familys and end the Mafia wars. The first joint Mafia venture is a huge shipload of drugs brought in by boat.

The Punisher is watching and about to interfere when the smugglers and the mobsters are attacked and killed, and the drugs end up on the bottom of the harbour. The attackers were the Yakuza wanting in on the american market as the Mafia is loosing it’s grip thanks to the Punisher’s war on them. The Mafia refuses to cooperate with the Yakuza so Lady Tanaka, head of the Yakuza, have the children of every Mafia family leader kidnapped.

The Punisher realises this was possible only as a result of his war against the Mafia. They are so weakened they no longer can protect their own. He attacks the place where the children are kept and manages to free all but Tommy Franco, Gianni’s son. As the Punisher delivers the children to their familys he is arrested and put in a cell. Next day when he is being transfered to a proper jail the transport is attacked and he is taken from the police by Francos men.

Gianni Franco wants his help to find and rescue Tommy and he threatens to kill Franks ex-partner if he doesn’t agree. So the Punisher and the crime lord heads off together to attack the Yakuza headquarter and try to find Tommy.

The Punisher was one of my favourite Marvel heroes when I was a kid, and I think Dolph Lundgren does a very good interpretation of the comic book hero. The part is perfect for him as even his flaws as an actor is an advantage. Where I live the film was banned upon release so untill movie censorship was abolished many years later all we had was really bad pirated third or fourth generation VHS-tapes but I still loved this film. Today 30 years later I still love it.

My verdict: 7 out of 10.