English Review: Gun Woman (Mitsutake Kurando, 2014)

Original title: Nyotaiju Gun Woman – 女体銃 ガン・ウーマン
2014 – Japan
Genre : Fatal revenge
Director: Mitsutake Kurando
Music: Harada Dean
Screenplay: Mitsutake Kurando and Yanagimoto Chiaki

Actors: Asami, Narita Kairi, Kamata Noriaki, Matthew Floyd Miller, Dean Simone, Agata Toshiya, Marco Ballare, Marianne Bourg and Stacey Chu

Story: A brilliant doctor on a quest for revenge buys a young woman and trains her to be the ultimate assassin, implanting gun parts in her body that she must later assemble and use to kill her target before she bleeds to death.

Gun Woman, I had it in my collection since its release. Years it has been waiting, years I must see it. But yeah, a little Japanese movie, probably with a super low budget, and you can add with Asami in the lead, that we usually see since mid 2000s in every film made by Iguchi, mostly making jokes and crazy faces, well, it didn’t hype me. I mean, yeah, her silly face, it was fun in the beginning, but after more than twenty movies doing the same things, it’s kinda boring. But thanks to Oli from the blog « Échec et (ciné)mat », he reminds me lately of this little movie, and had only praise for it. Of course, if you check online, you’ll see Gun Woman is not a movie for everyone, some people hated it, or at least didn’t like its extreme parts. In fact, people who wants a movie clearly made for an adult audience, people who can enjoy a film despite a few flaws, they’ll like it, or even love it. On the other hand, mainstream audience might run away from the film, because of those same flaws, but also because of its violence. It goes far, it’s not afraid to be bloody, it’s not afraid to be creepy. Funny thing, when you look at the story, or with the introduction (that scared me, with its American’s hitman who has a mustache Bronson would probably like, in a car telling the driver the story), Gun Woman, it sounds almost like a script made by Luc Besson. Except that Gun Woman only keeps the shape of the Besson’s formula, and puts it all inside a (yes) very low budget film, but a film with thousands of ideas, that is not afraid to go far, very far. Maybe even too far sometimes. Like if Besson was making an R-Rated movie. Or if you look at some scenes, maybe Unrated movie.

With the very first shot, we almost know what to expect, with a naked lady taking a shower, a shot in the head with a pistol, and here we are in a car with our killer and his driver, telling us the story of Hamazaki’s son, a killer and rapist, who was unlucky to rape and brutally kill the wife of a doctor, and to leave him alive. After breaking his legs and destroying his left eye, yes. First thing easy to notice, Gun Woman is a very low budget. Gun Woman has a sometimes very raw cinematography, despite good ideas and the will to make something good. You have to deal with it. Second point, the actors. There are some good, or even very good, and some not so good here. On the bad side, maybe the actor playing Hamazaki’s son does a bit too much to look crazy. And maybe a bit too often. But those flaws, you can put them in the bin right away. We follow two stories, or rather THE story told by our killer about his vengeful doctor, who’s going to buy a woman, a drug addict and prostitute, to help her, not because he’s kind, but to train her to become a killing machine. Physical training, mind training, learning how to use guns, how to shoot on limited time. A classical training, starting slowly, but then totally breaking the links between the film and, let’s say, any Besson’s production. Because to kill her target, our young lady will have to be in a clinical death’s state, with a gun literally hidden inside her body using surgery, so she can get inside a hidden and private place where people pays to fuck corpses, or eat them if they feel like it. When she’ll wake up, she’ll have to get the gun back, kill the target, as well as any guards there, and she’ll have to do that quickly before she bleeds to death.

And I can say it, Asami, used to funny parts in movies, finds here a lead maybe less talkative and expressive, but far more complex than usual, and she does an really great job there. A good point for the film, which has good actors for the leads. And despite the obvious lack of money, there is the ideas, the envy to do something good, to be generous and it works damn well! Of course sometimes, it goes maybe too far, and it’s gratuitous and maybe not necessary (the cannibal’s part wasn’t really useful right?), most of the time, it’s just pleasurable (some fights are awesome), or painful, as the director insists in some scenes on the pain the characters feel, and we feel it too. The last 30 minutes are literally an explosion of visceral and visual violence, and it’s totally crazy! The best part is, it never seems to stop, it always goes further, it accumulates the nice little ideas, it stops at nothing, even if Asami looses an astronomical amount of blood. But hey, it’s not everyday that you’ll see Asami fighting with her bare hands a bunch of guys, and totally naked too. Or to use a gun while counting her shots. Gun Woman is brutal, enjoyable, fun, without concessions. Unforgettable? Well for a little film like this, yes and yes!

The good

A crazy violence
Asami, really good in the lead
Lots of ideas
The actions is nicely done
The final part, crazy

The bad

Yes it’s a very small production, low budget
Some actors are less good

So: That was an excellent surprise, unexpected. I thought I was going to watch another low budget film with Asami, and we have a B movie, not perfect, mais generous, with action, well done gore, an excellent last part. Like if Besson was making a violent and bloody flick, and not a pretentious garbage.

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