GUN WOMAN

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

DVD REVIEW: GUN WOMAN / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: KURANDO MITSUTAKE / SCREENPLAY: KURANDO MITSUTAKE / STARRING: ASAMI, MATTHEW FLOYD MILLER, NORIAKI KAMATA, KAIRI NARITA / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 29TH

‘Cult’, like ‘epic,’ is a word that’s been so freely flung around that its lost most of its potency. That said, if ever a film was going to reinvigorate the term then Kurando Mitsutake’s bombastic Gun Woman is indeed a modern-day cult classic.

Starting off with a headshot, Gun Woman is the story of two hitmen making their way to an extraction point, passing the time by swapping tales of a talented doctor who, after his wife is raped and murdered and he is left crippled, swears revenge on the psycho-sexual killer. In this case, the killer is a cannibal, necrophile and billionaire Japanese playboy, played with grim gusto by Noriaki Kamata. Knowing there’s only one way to get past his maximum security, the doctor trains a young Japanese woman and hides the parts of a handgun inside her body.

Matthew Floyd Miller looks and acts like DC’s Jim Gordon, and his dulcet tones pay lip service to the great kung fu movies of the past. Kairi Narita is effective as the doctor-cum-trainer, but former porn actress Asami gives the finest performance in the demanding titular role.

While Asami spends most of the film naked, including the dynamic fight sequences, it’s easy to see the film as all exploitation. While making clear that ‘God made women superior to men’ it shows the story of a woman’s redemption from prostitution and drug abuse to practical superhero. Whilst there’s a few scenes that look like a particularly bad porno, it’s B-movie gold.

Like Tarantino’s Kill Bill, Gun Woman owes a tremendous debt to kung fu and samurai movies, and wears those influences proudly. But unlike Kill Bill, it’s not nearly as awkward, drawing instead from a wider pool of influences including manga, grindhouse cinema and Luc Besson’s Leon and La Femme Nikita.

The camera work is admittedly amateurish, with most of the exterior shots looking like they were filmed on an iPhone, with filters to match. But it’s honest, marking Mitsutake as one to watch. This way greatness comes.

The soundtrack is killer, all strings, synth and drums, a throwback to Fabio Frizzi’s brilliant scores for Lucio Fulci’s shock zombie horrors.

Given its cultural heritage, Gun Woman is very accessible to any newcomers. With lashings of gore and nudity, and a training montage that blows Rocky right out of the water, this is pure cult cinema. It’s cheap, grubby and ridiculous, but it’s also bloody good fun.

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