• Love Hunter (Impulse Pictures) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Impulse Pictures
    Released on: July 28th, 2020.
    Director: Seiichirō Yamaguchi
    Cast Hidemi Hara, Mari Tanaka, Sumiko Minami
    Year: 1972
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    Love Hunter – Movie Review:

    Directed by Seiichirō Yamaguchi for Nikkatsu and released in 1972, Love Hunter (which was one of the studio’s earlier Roman Porno films) wound up landing its director in some rather hot water when he was arrested. In fact, it also got some of the executives at Nikkatsu and even some of the censors at Eirin into trouble as well. After it was unleashed on the unsuspecting Japanese public, those involved were brought up on obscenity charges that took the better part of a decade to be dismissed. Interestingly enough, there hasn’t been another film prosecuted on obscenity charges in Japan since, which is at least a little bit ironic as Nikkatsu would go on to make far stronger films than this one in the not too distant future. Still, the content here remains pretty strong, even by modern standards, which should make the film more than worthwhile for those with an interest in the sleazy side of Japanese cinema.

    The story revolves around a twenty-year-old college student named Kazuo (Hidemi Hara) who has fallen in both love and lust with his girlfriend, fellow student Hisako (Mari Tanaka). While out for a walk in the woods one sunny afternoon, Kazuo meets an older woman named Kyôko (Hidemi Hara), and is clearly and instantly intrigued with his new friend. Kyôko is hot to trot in pretty much every way you’d imagine and, as luck would have it, she’s out to get seriously laid before tying the knot with an uber-rich businessman type. Our young couple doesn’t realize this, at least not at first, so they gladly accept her offer of a ride back to town.

    When it turns out that Kazuo has left his wallet in Kyôko’s car, she sees this as an opportunity to get the handsome young man alone and away from Hisako. When not having a strange fling with a drag queen and talking up how right she’s going to be once she has that ring on her finger, Kyôko’s easily manipulating Kazuo into all manner of kinky bedroom games that only accelerate once her husband to be gives her a fancy beach house where she can get both Kazuo and Hisako alone to enjoy all for herself.

    Love Hunter moves at a quick pace and offers enough steamy – and sometimes fairly twisted – sex scenes to engage most cult movie fans. Like all Japanese erotica intended for theaters, there’s some clever placement of objects in the foreground to conveniently obscure any sight of public hair or penetration, but Seiichirō Yamaguchi and his cinematographer do this fairly well, it works in the story line and doesn’t feel as obvious here as it does in some of the other pictures made for the Roman Porno line. The whole thing scores high marks across the board for some really impressive camera work and lighting, the visuals here are top notch and the movie looks really good in pretty much every frame. On top of that, it does manage to tell a genuinely interesting story in and among st the bumping and grinding that are clearly the main draw here. We Kyôko pulls the two young lovebirds into her web, we really do want to know what her endgame is here and how this is all going to play out – and the odds are pretty good that you’re not going to see the finale coming!

    Hidemi Hara and super cute Mari Tanaka are more than good as two of the leads, they’re likable enough and believable in their respective roles. It’s Hidemi Hara, however, who really steals the show here, she’s a firecracker in every frame she appears in and has no trouble stealing the scene from anyone else in the picture. With only twenty credits to her name, all made between 1972 through 1973, it’s clear she had a pretty short, but prolific, career in front of the camera but to her credit, her work here is strong enough to make you wish there was more of her material out there to discover (or at least quality English-friendly releases of the other films she made!).

    Love Hunter – Blu-ray Review:

    Impulse Pictures brings Love Hunter to Blu-ray taking up just under 18GBS of space on a 25GB disc featuring an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen, which would seem to be enough space for the seventy-three-minute feature to exist without compression issues. This is, by and large, a very nice presentation making you wish Impulse would put more of these out on Blu-ray instead of just DVD. Regardless, picture quality here holds up nicely. Detail is quite strong throughout and we get a lot of appreciable depth and texture in the image. There are no problems with any noise reduction or edge enhancement and the picture retains the expected amount of film grain but doesn’t show much in the way at all of any problematic print damage.

    The only audio option provided on the disc is a 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track in the film’s native Japanese language, with optional subtitles offered up in English only. The track is clean and properly balanced, free of any problems with audible hiss or distortion. No issues here.

    Extras? We get a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection. Sadly, that’s it. A commentary or featurette would have been very welcome, given the historical significance of the film, but that didn’t happen.

    Love Hunter – The Final Word Review:

    The lack of extras is a disappointment but otherwise, the Impulse Pictures Blu-ray release of Love Hunter is solid, offering up this twisted and historically important entry in Nikkatsu’s line of Roman Porno films in very nice condition and a quality presentation. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized Love Hunter Blu-ray screen caps!