22 August 2015 | BA_Harrison
I wanted to like this so much more than I did.
As a little girl, Ochô Inoshika witnesses the bloody murder of her father, who dies clutching three gambling cards, clues to the identities of those responsible for his death. Two decades later, Ochô (Reiko Ike) is now a skilled card player and deadly swords-woman and uses her talents to try and track down her father's killers. Her search leads her into a world of political intrigue, her path crossing with an idealistic revolutionary Shunosuke (Tadashi Naruse) and his British ex-lover, undercover spy and gambler Christina (Swedish sex star Christina Lindberg).
Approximately twelve minutes into Sex and Fury and viewers are treated to an exquisitely exploitative scene in which beautiful star Reiko Ike is attacked by numerous sword wielding baddies while taking a relaxing soak in a tub. Leaping from the water to grab her sword, she proceeds to hack and slash her way through the enemy, her naked body becoming drenched with blood in the process. The action moves into a snowy courtyard, where the carnage continues in slow motion, until all the men are dead.
Director Noribumi Suzuki (Beautiful Girl Hunter, School of the Holy Beast) closes his film in a similar fashion, with Ike going topless to slice up countless henchmen in her pursuit of justice. Excessive arterial spray ensures that, once again, Ike winds up drenched in bright red gore. This time, she uses the snow outside to clean her bloody chest.
Sadly, these gloriously bloody bookends to the film's intricate revenge plot are easily the film's highlights, with not an awful lot of note going on between them. The rather dull political plot-line offers very little opportunity for more action, and although there is copious nudity and sex along the way, the soft-core shagging and light bondage soon becomes tiresome (even Lindberg's lesbian session with a Japanese woman outstays its welcome).
Sex and Fury is, as these kind of movies so often are, extremely stylish, with classy cinematography and a cool jazzy score, but the acting from some of the cast is decidedly ropey (Lindberg speaks both English and Japanese, mangling both languages). If you're new to Japanese cinema and are looking for a classic female swords-woman revenge tale, I suggest either of the Lady Snowblood movies over this film; and if you're after something really sleazy, then the aforementioned other films from Suzuki offer more in the way of general perversion. Sex and Fury is passable pinky violence, but there are better examples out there.