WINNER: Special Jury Prize, Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival 2014
“Jet-black genre ass-kicking... a cool-as-hell film - Flay Otters, HORRORMOVIES.CA
Japanese actress Asami is no stranger to Fantasia, having appeared in many of the festival’s classics, including MACHINE GIRL (2008), SUKEBAN BOY (2006), ZOMBIE ASS: TOILET OF THE DEAD (2011) and DEAD SUSHI (2012), to name a few. This year, she returns with the ultraviolent action flick GUN WOMAN.
Two mercenaries must cross the desert to reach their extraction point. On the long journey, one of them relates the sordid tale of vengeance involving the son of a Japanese gangster and the man they call Mastermind. He details how the latter was able to turn a junkie hooker into a ruthless assassin, making her go through an excruciatingly physical and mental training so she can acquire the skills necessary to avenge her master and finally find freedom. However, failure means certain death.
Kurando Mistutake fires off an extremely violent film with a structure similar to ’70s exploitation-inspired kung-fu pictures, but with the tacky humour of early ’80s, straight-to-video action flicks. He capitalizes on the remarkable performance of leading lady Asami, arguably the best of her career. Not only does she have absolutely no dialogue, but she completely surrenders herself both mentally and physically to the part at hand. She also shows great courage as she is willing to go where many actors wouldn’t dare, pushing the limits by engaging in a half-hour fight completely in the nude. Devoid of protective gear, she fights, shoots and gets thrown through chairs and walls. This role proves once and for all that she has what it takes to be taken seriously. For his second opus, Mitsutake comes up with something unique, charged with an awesome brutality that surpasses the limits of which most of us can take. While his script is relatively simple, it contains totally badass scenes, not least of which is a final infiltration sequence worthy of the greatest B-movies.
It’s clear that this picture isn’t for everyone, as much for its themes as for its raw nature. Mitsutake knows his audience. He knows what they like and, like a true master chef, he gives them more than they can chew. If you’re into gunfights, hand-to-hand combat and floods of blood, set your sights on GUN WOMAN.
— Éric S. Boisvert