• Momoe's Lips

    Momoe's Lips
    Released by: Impulse Pictures
    Released on: September 11, 2012.
    Director: Katsuhiko Fujii
    Cast: Minako Mizushima, Noriaki Abe, Miyako Yamaguchi
    Year: 1981
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Katsuhiko Fujii for Nikkatsu in 1979, Momoe’s Lips (full title Rape Shot: Momoe’s Lips, abbreviated on this American release for obvious reasons but the reversible cover art gives you the choice to display that title if you want!) is fairly dark, twisted stuff but if you’ve been following Impulse’s line of Nikkatsu releases thus far, you know that going in. On the flip side, the film also features some odd comedic elements that creep into the story here and there as well.

    The story this time around revolves around a man named Toru (Noiaki Abe) who works as a reporter for a sleazy tabloid. He makes a living digging up dirt on people, particularly celebrities and the dirtier the story the better he seems to do. When he learns that a record industry mogul named Hoshino (Hiroshi Unayama) is keeping his latest pop tart, Yoko (Minako Mizushima), under sedation with illegal drugs, he starts snooping in hopes of hitting pay dirt.

    But how exactly is Toru going to prove this? Yoko seems fine on the outside at least. He comes up with a pretty bizarre plan in which he’ll follow her to the bathroom and get himself a urine sample of course! Once her wizz tests positive like he knows it will, it’ll simply be a matter of cashing his check and moving on to the next one. Unfortunately for Toru, it’s not going to be that simple. His plan gets rocked when a group of criminals kidnap poor Yoko and whisk her away to a remote country location for the requisite rape and sexual degradation scenes. Toru investigates and eventually figures out where she’s being held, but are his motives in trying to rescue her any better than those of her abductors?

    Named to cash-in on the success of a then popular Japanese pop star to whom leading lady Minako Mizushima bore a resemblance, Momoe’s Lips is a decent crime thriller with copious amounts of softcore bumping and grinding thrown into the mix to cater to the studio’s devout raincoat crowd. More often than not it works and works well, the story keeping us involved and the sex scenes keeping us intrigued. There’s plenty of style on display, the scope cinematography doing a fine job of capturing the action and the lighting doing everything it can to enhance that. We get a good score here too.

    As far as the performances go, Noiaki Abe has a bit of a tongue in cheek approach to his character here but he’s able to be tough when he needs to be. Of course, his character is a ladies man, the kind of cons hookers into freebies, but he’s got the right sort of look to pull it off. Minako Mizushima has an appreciable tenderness to her and she plays the pop star well. She’s also both attractive and seemingly a bit vulnerable, making her as equally solid a casting choice for the female lead as Abe is for the male lead.


    Rape Shot: Momoe’s Lips looks good in this 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer even if the movie isn’t nearly as colorful as a lot of the other entries in the line have been so far. Lots of grey building interiors and dreary locations are used, so don’t expect this one to really pop in that regard. Color reproduction does look accurate, however, as do skin tones and there are no issues with any serious print damage. Some scenes are a bit soft, not uncommon with the Nikkastu sex films of the time, but black levels are pretty decent. All in all, this seems like it would be an accurate representation of what this movie should look like.

    The Japanese language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is crisp and clean. The levels are well balanced and there are no issues with hiss or distortion. The score sounds good, the dialogue is well balanced and everything sounds just fine. The optional English subtitles that are provided are free of any typos and easy to read.

    Extras on the disc are limited to a menu, chapter selection and the film’s short original theatrical trailer. Inside the case is an insert containing original poster art for the feature and liner notes from film scholar/author Jasper Sharp that fill us in on the film’s leading lady and offer up some welcome detail about the strange trend of pop singer impersonators popping up in Nikkastu sex films from this era!

    The Final Word:

    Momoe’s Lips is fast paced, entertaining, periodically amusing and often quite sexy. It’s also well shot and well put together, putting production values on the same sort of pedestal on which it also puts the requisite sex scenes. Impulse’s DVD release looks and sounds good and if its light on extras, Sharp’s liner notes are a nice addition as always.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      I dug this one. Jasper Sharp's liner notes helped give some perspective and that added to my enjoyment. It is fucked up and strange which is what I'm looking for in the Roman Pronos. Nice review.