• Legends Of The Poisonous Seductress: Okatsu The Fugitive (Synapse Films) DVD Review

    Released by: Synapse Films
    Released on: November 13th, 2007.
    Director: Nobuo Nakagawa
    Cast: Junko Miyazono, Tatsuo Umemiya, Reiko Oshida, Yoichi Numata
    Year: 1969
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    Legends Of The Poisonous Seductress: Okatsu The Fugitive – Movie Review:

    Never before released on home video in North America (or on DVD in Japan), the third and final film in the Legends Of The Poisonous Seductress trilogy sees Junko Miyazono as character once again named Okatsu.

    Once again directed by Nobuo Nakagawa (the same man who directed Snake Woman's Curse and Jigoku), the film starts off with a fantastic, stylish introduction where Okatsu wields her sword against multiple opponents which segues into a wild, colorful scene of torture. We see some of the local officials terrorize the local workers, and then we learn how Okatsu's father has attempted to bring the actions of the local officials to the government in hopes of bringing a stop to their abusive ways and their contraband tobacco scheme.

    Just before Okatsu is to be wed, her parents are abducted and tortured and eventually murdered by Judayu, the local magistrate, and his men. Making matters worse for the poor girl is the fact that her fiancé has sided with the bad guys, leaving her alone against their tyranny. Or so she thinks! Soon Okatsu meets a mysterious stranger (Tatsuo Umemiya) who was once a master swordsman. They hit if off and he aids her in her quest for revenge as does a gang of orphan (one of whom is played by Reiko Oshida of Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless To Confess). Okatsu and her rag tag band of friends carve their way through corrupt law enforcement officials and government types on their way to the final showdown with Judayu.

    The plot for Okatsu The Fugitive differs very little from the plot for Quick-Draw Okatsu but that doesn't mean the film is really any less entertaining even if it at times it feels like a rehash of what came before. The reason for Okatsu's mission of revenge are basically the same and the way she winds up getting a few stragglers on her side in her war against a corrupt official are very similar to those employed in the second film in the series. That said, where the film also succeeds in the same way that the first two films did - action, carnage and atmosphere!

    From the fantastic opening credits to the scene where Okatsu's father is tied to a cross which rotates and submerges him under water while her mother is gang raped in a prison cell, there's no shortage of bloodshed or nastiness in the film. Nakagawa directs all of this with skill and the cinematography from Yoshikazu Yamasawa is slick and stylish ensuring that things look good from start to finish. Again, the combination of studio sets and location shooting gives the film an interesting mix of backdrops.

    Junko Miyazono once again provides a great lead performance, providing the pathos we require to sympathize with her character as well as the stone faced coldness she needs to pull off the harder edged action scenes in the last half of the film. One particularly bloody fight scene on a stair case stands out, where Okatsu takes out a man's eye with her blade. A later scene in a bath house also stands out as we see Okatsu deal with a setup that finds her squaring off against a horde of attackers.

    Legends Of The Poisonous Seductress: Okatsu The Fugitive – DVD Review:

    Legends Of The Poisonous Seductress: Okatsu The Fugitive is, like the second film in the series, presented in a clean and colorful 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. There's a little bit of fine grain present in a few spots but aside from that the image is very strong and almost perfect. Flesh tones look great and color reproduction is very strong.

    The film is presented in its original Japanese language in Dolby Digital Mono with optional English subtitles. Audio quality is fine, there are no problems with hiss or distortion and dialogue is clear. Range is obviously limited by the fact that it’s an older track but there are no problems here, the movie sounds fine.

    Synapse omits the Chris D. commentary this time around and extras are light but we do get widescreen trailers for all three films in the Legends Of The Poisonous Seductress series, some stylish animated menus, and chapter selection. There's also a Nobuo Nakagawa poster gallery and a text biography.

    Inside the keepcase is an insert booklet containing a three page essay from Chris D. which, aside from recycling portions of his essay appearing in the Female Demon Ohyaku and Quick-Draw Okatsu release, gives a brief rundown of the Japanese female swordplay, explaining its appeal and noting some of the more important and influential films and actresses before getting into specifics regarding this particular film. A chapter listing is also included on the final page of the insert. As they did with their previous Panik House releases (Snake Woman’s Curse and Horrors Of The Malformed Men), Synapse has provided some reversible cover art. On one side is the newly created DVD cover art (done in the style of the Panik House Pinky Violence Collection releases) and on the opposite side is the original Japanese poster art.

    Legends Of The Poisonous Seductress: Okatsu The Fugitive - The Final Word:

    While the final film in the trilogy doesn't differ much from the film that came before it, Junko Miyazono is still impressive in the lead role and while the plot might feel like a rehash, at least Okatsu The Fugitive is still a fast paced, entertaining and well-made swordplay film. Plenty of action and carnage keep things moving nicely and Okatsu The Fugitive is just as enjoyable as the two films in the series that precede it.