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  • Yasuharu Hasebe (Black Tight Killers) took over for director Shunya Ito for this, the last Female Convict Scorpion picture starring Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood). The film opens with Nami Matsushima (a.k.a. Matsu, a.k.a. Scorpion) once again on the lam. The police track her down at a wedding, but she manages to escape. Badly injured, she is saved by a man who works in a strip joint and holds a grudge against the police for torturing him. Can the Scorpion trust a man again? Should she?

    One of the reasons Kaji decided to stop doing the Scorpion pictures is that Toei kept slashing the budget with each new installment. This film is smaller in scale and more straightforward than the first three chapters. It is easily the least of the four Scorpion films featuring Meiko Kaji; however, it is still engrossing whenever she is on the screen.
  • The fourth installment in the incredible 'Female Prisoner' series, starring Meiko Kaji. Director Shunya Ito declined to direct this final part because of budget cuts. Yasuharu Hasebe takes over here, and directs a respectable final chapter to one of the most loved serials in Japanese cinema. Hasebe was also responsible for a controversial trilogy of rape themed films including "Rape! 13th Hour". His influence is seen here, as 'Grudge Song' features some over-the-top scenes of torture and rape. Of course though, not on the extreme level of his more subversive works, as I think the Scorpion series was aimed at a somewhat larger audience. This one begins with Nami on the run once again, from the angry cop that has been pursuing her through the entire series. She finds a little solace with a man (!) who hides her from the police and helps to nurse her back to health. Surprisingly, Nami allows a man to get a little close to her, however she keeps him at arms length, as she knows that no man can truly be trusted. No worries though; the film never gets bogged down by sappy romance, as that would make 'Sasori' look somehow weak. I believe she only mutters two lines of dialog to her companion throughout the film.'Grudge Song' takes a little while to pick up speed, but it surely does, just about at the halfway mark, when she is once again caught and thrown into prison. It is always a rush to see the 'Scorpion' dressed in the familiar prison stripes. I don't care how many times they do it, it never gets boring. With each passing installment Kaji seems more 'godlike'. Here she comes across as some vengeful spirit from another world. Was this sequel necessary? Not really, but who cares. A chance to experience another adventure with this amazing heroine is always welcome. If you are a fan of this series, then this film is a must. It also a good opportunity to see a film from Yasuharu Hasebe, as most of his other films are extremely hard to find. And if you are wondering if Nami puts on the black coat and hat to seek out revenge once again...She does! And this time her vengeance is more personal. Recommended!
  • Grudge Song, Meiko Kaji's final outing as sexy female prisoner Nami Matsushima (AKA The Scorpion), opens with our beautiful anti-hero narrowly avoiding capture by the police during a wedding. Badly injured during this latest escape, our tasty fugitive breaks into a strip club where she is tended to by club employee Teruo Kudo (Masakazu Tamura), who bears a grudge against the police for torturing him when he was younger.

    Grateful for his kindness, and recognising Kudo as a kindred spirit, Nami lowers her defenses and forms a relationship with the young man—but can Kudo be trusted not to betray Nami, especially when he is put under pressure by sadistic policeman Kodama (Yumi Kanei) and his brutal cohorts?

    After being somewhat disappointed by director Shunya Ito's third Female Prisoner movie, Beast Stable, which I believe lacked the effortlessly cool vibe of the first two films and saw the formula becoming somewhat tired, I was excited to see that this fourth chapter for Meiko Kaji's cult character was directed by Yasuharu Hasebe, the man responsible for such delightfully depraved Pinku classics as 'Assault! Jack the Ripper' and 'Rape! 13th Hour'. Surely this guy could inject some new life into the series.

    Unfortunately, Grudge Song proves to be a rather restrained affair from Hasebe, one that features little of the shocking sexual and violent content that I would normally associate with the director's work, with even the film's nastiest scene, a gang-rape, lacking his usual impact (possibly suggesting that the director was holding himself back, compelled to try and be as stylish and classy as his predecessor when dealing with such a well established franchise). Hasebe also unwisely turns Kaji's Nami into a much less sympathetic character than before, making it harder for the audience to care about her fate.

    Had Hasebe given Grudge Song the same outrageous, exploitative approach that made his aforementioned titles such deviant guilty pleasures, this would have been a lot more fun, and a great way for Kaji to leave the series. Sadly, as it is, this one is my least favourite of all the Female Scorpion films.

    5.5 out 10, rounded up to 6 for IMDb.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The great Yasuharu Hasebe carries the torch he burnt at Nikkatsu to Toei's "Female Convict Scorpion - Grudge Song", and the result is a very different Scorpion film that still manages to mythologize our beautiful heroine, Nami Matsushuima (Meiko Kaji). Hasebe's penchant for rape, perverse sexuality, torture and jazz scoring serves the plot of this entry very well, as does his fondness for hand-held camera-work. A porno theater projectionist, who has tangled with the police before, gives Nami safe harbor when she finds herself on the lam once again. A sexual relationship based on shared misery brings the two outsiders together, but when the projectionist is captured and tortured, he gives up Nami's hiding place and she is returned to jail after an exciting shoot-out. If you know Hasebe's work, you'll enjoy various sequences that would later be mirrored in the director's "Assault Jack The Ripper" (the body in the elevator shaft at the end) and "Raping!" (the rape of the prison warden by the police, and the erotic acts performed in mirrors). Hasebe's Scorpion is a looser, less surreal piece of work, but it is, nonetheless, a wonderful achievement. The finale, set in the wilderness against a baked, orange sky, is great cinema, as is the emotional conclusion where Nami's achingly beautiful theme song is reprised. As usual, the director's passion for jazz-fueled visuals is well served by composer Hajime Kaburagi's sensational score, which also detours into some of the most surreal territory yet trodden in a Scorpion film. Some say this is the weakest of the series; "some" just don't appreciate sleaze as art.
  • The fourth and final of the brilliant original "Sasori" films with the unrivaled Meiko Kaji, "Joshuu Sasori: 701-gô urami-bushi" aka. "Female Prisoner Scorpion: 701's Grudge Song" was directed by Yasuharu Hasebe instead of genius director Shunya Ito, who had directed the three ingenious predecessors. Even this fourth "Sasori" flick does not quite reach the brilliance of its predecessors (all three of which are unique and unrivaled masterpieces of Exploitation cinema), "Grudge Song" still outshines almost any other film of the WIP ("Women In Prison") sub-genre by a thousand times. What makes this a little less brilliant than its predecessors is probably the replacement of Shunya Ito as a director. Ito had a great passion (and a great talent) for the use of surrealism, and Yasuharo Hasebe obviously preferred to use these elements to a lesser extent. The first three "Sasori" films were THE proof that making Exploitation and Art-house cinema at the same time was possible, and while "Grudge Song" still is a wonderful example of Exploitation-Art, it does not quite live up to the brilliance of the iconic original "Joshuu 701-gô: Sasori" and the ingeniously surreal sequels "Jailhouse 41" and the third masterpiece "Beast Stable", which is arguably the greatest of them all. Nevertheless, this fourth "Sasori" film is an absolute must-see for any fan of Exploitation and serious lover of film in general, that delivers pure brilliance in many aspects.

    While Meiko Kaji's character Nami Matsushima aka. "Sasori" was mainly looking for revenge in the first film, the films become more and more political throughout the series. "Grudge Song" is again full of social criticism and broaches issues such as poverty, police brutality, rebellion and the death penalty. The film once again features a lot of violence, as well as very artistic elements. The beautiful Meiko Kaji once again brilliant in the role of Sasori, I just cannot praise this great actress enough. The rest of the performances are also great, and the the film once again has "Urami-Bushi", which Kaji sings, as the main theme song. The photography is also amazing, the film is visually stunning throughout its 89 minutes.

    Though it doesn't quite reach the brilliance of its predecessors "Grudge Song" is definitely also an excellent slice of Exploitation-Art and a must-see for every serious lover of cult-cinema in general and J-Exploitation in particular.
  • After narrowly escaping brutal Detective Kodama Sasori hides out in a seedy strip joint in the back streets of Tokyo.There she encounters Kudo who was humiliated and tortured by Kodama and his cronies years ago.The two strike a bond and soon set out to exact Kudo's long dreamt-about justice against detective Kodama.But their plan is not going to end happily."Female Convict Scorpion Grudge Song" is filled with sadness and unrelenting nihilism.Yasuharu Hasebe,the creator of violent pink sub-genre directs with a sure hand and Mejko Kaji is fantastic as a relentless Sasori.She even kills a cop with a white rose.There is also sleazy gang-rape scene and plenty of nudity.If you enjoyed previous installments of "Scorpion" pinky violence series give this one a look.8 out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The fourth and final of the first Female Prisoner Scorpion series, this movie has Meiko Kaji coming back to portray Nami Matsushima - the Scorpion - one more time. However, director Shunya Ito was replaced by Yasuharu Hasebe, who worked with Meiko on the Stray Cat Rock series. Scorpion remains on the run after the last film, starting things off the same way, with a lone voice screaming her name.

    This time, our heroine is found by the police - including her new nemesis Hirose - in a wedding chapel. Despite handcuffing her, she's able to escape and makes her way to find Kudo, a political radical who now works in a sex show club. He's covered by scars from multiple run-ins with the police, so he has no problem keeping Scorpion hidden.

    However, one of the girls in the club, upset that Kudo had rebuffed her advances, finds the detective's handcuffs in Kudo's room and calls the police. They show up and beat Kudo until he finally gives in and sells out the Scorpion. Yep, she falls in love with him, even gives her body to him willingly unlike every other time in this series and he still lets the cops know where she is. He even leads them to her. Bad move, Kudo.

    Soon, Nami is back in prison and sentenced to death. Despite a guard who reaches out to her and asks her to open her heart and ask for forgiveness, Scorpion finally reappears. That's my main issue with this film. Despite opening with an awesome sequence of Scorpion in her trademark trenchcoat and black hat, the rest of the movie is all about Nami reacting and running instead of being the master manipulator that we know that she can be. That said, by the end of the film, she comes back to who she should be all along, escaping the prison with the help of the warden, murdering the detective who won't give up on capturing her and then returning to find Kudo, getting her revenge. She tells him that she didn't stab him. Instead, it was Nami, the woman who fell in love with him. Now, she is only the Scorpion.

    This is the final film that Meiko Kaji would play Scorpion, but in 1976, Yutaka Kohira would direct New Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701. He followed that up with New Female Prisoner Scorpion: Special Cellblock X. Evil Dead Trap director Toshiharu Ikeda also presented Scorpion Woman Prisoner: Death Threat in 1991, a new version of the story.
  • Grudge Song is the last entry in the "official" Female Convict Scorpion series and is often considered lesser to the other three. This is true, it's not quite as good as those that went before it; but even so, the film is certainly a worthy entry. Grudge Song is directed by Yasuharu Hasebe, as opposed to Shunya Ito who directed the first three. That doesn't really affect the quality, however, as the new director adequately emulates the style of the previous ones and the film certainly fits into the series well. The first three films all had different styles, though this one seems to take the most influence from the one that came directly before it, 'Beast Stable' as the action is fairly slow. The plot once again focuses on the quiet dark haired lunatic that goes by the name 'Scorpion'. She's still on the run and after a run-in with the cops, finds herself injured. She's helped by a young man who takes her in, gives her shelter and forms an alliance with her. However, after another run in with the cops; he's captured and finds himself with a dilemma...

    This film is not as surreal as the previous entries as the new director seems to prefer a more direct and exploitative approach, and that's OK with me. The surreal elements are what made the previous films what they are in a way, but I've come to expect a different thing each time from this series so I don't mind that change in style here. Meiko Kaji once again takes the central role and once again does excellently with it. She doesn't say a lot as is usually the case, but she looks so sinister and this is what really makes her performances in these films. This film has less of a revenge theme and more of a political one and it works fairly well. The violence is still the main focal point for me, but this film probably has a bit more 'meat' on it than the previous three. There's still plenty of room for what Scorpion does best, and those hoping to see her get revenge on people won't be disappointed as she certainly gets it once again. Overall, this film is not as great as the fantastic original; but it still fits into the series nicely and overall I'd say it's on par with the three sequels. Recommended!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    #701'S GRUDGE SONG is the fourth and least of the FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION series, an average film in every respect. The problem with these movies is the lack of money that went into their making. The director of the previous three films didn't return, leaving the reliably enthralling Meiko Kaji the only real reason to tune in. This time around, Sasori is on the run from a group of new dedicated cops, and she ends up being helped by a vengeful guy who works at a strip joint and has his own vendetta against the police. This film is rather small in scale and fits in a few prison flick cliches and violent moments, but the direction lacks the same style as in the previous outings and there's a general seen-it-all-before feel.
  • Grudge Song is the fourth film in the series. Still starring the amazing Meiko Kaji as Matsu a.k.a Sasori (Scorpion) but with a different director. Yasuharu Hasebe is no stranger in the Japanese exploitation bizz, but it's still hard to follow up such a brilliant director such as Shunya Ito after three incredible films. Was he the right man for the job, or should they've stuck to three parts?

    Very much like the third film it all goes down in an urban environment, staying clear from prison until the last part. It's the fugitive story line you'd come to expect by now. You can't detain Sasori forever, so escaping becomes a big part of the action yet again. She's facing dead sentence, forcing her to do whatever it takes to stay clear from the authority.

    It's as entertaining as the first films but the cinematography wasn't as eye-catching. It's all in comparison, since it's still a gorgeous film and there are tons of nicely shot sequences. Just not as good as the first three. It's not easy to dodge the repetitive bullet, not for Hasebe and not for me as I'm writing about the same series for the fourth time in a row.

    Should I once again explain how Meiko's acting influences the impact of the film, how she's the one who keeps you on the edge of you seat and so on? Her quality acting is not something that just vanishes, so success was guaranteed on this part. The entire cat and mouse game remains intriguing because of her presence, the love and hatred can be felt from both sides.

    A nice addition to the final part are the female wardens. They have a different attitude which makes it interesting to revisit this setting. Here we see some of the better scenes, mainly when she escapes once again. Bringing forth some of the best looking shots with those familiar painted backgrounds and enchanting music.

    I'll be remembering her song of vengeance for quite some time, that's for sure. I'll place a youtube video on the bottom for everyone to listen to. It's a fantastic film but it didn't have the same effect as Ito's Scorpion films had. A rewarding final, even though I still crave for more Meiko action. Lady Snowblood...here I come!
  • More than practically every film I've seen before in my life, "Grudge Song" emphasizes the essentialness of one certain director linked to a cinematic franchise. Shunya Ito directed the first three installments of the ""Female Prisoner: Scorpion" series and they were simply phenomenal and pretty much flawless. For this fourth entry, Yasuharu Hasabe took place in the director's seat and promptly the narrative ingenuity as well as the stylish characteristics notably lowered in quality. By no means I intend to claim that "Grudge Song" is a bad film – far from it, as you can derive from the rating I've given – but it nearly isn't as breathtakingly awesome as the previous ones. But in all honesty, Hasabe can't be blamed entirely, as he actually just remained faithful to his own personalized style and filming methods. This man also directed uncompromising and vastly outrageous Cat-III movies with delicious sounding titles such as "Rape! The 13th Hour", "Assault: Jack the Ripper" and even "Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter", so you honestly can't expect this man to alter his style towards a more elegant and suggestive type of exploitation cinema. The fourth film is much sleazier and straightforward, with less likable character drawings and visually dazzling gimmicks. Hasabe obviously didn't care too much for the complexities of part three ("Beast Stable") or the deliriousness of part two ("Jailhouse 41") and returned to the gritty in-your-face mentality of the original. The script is largely a re-run of familiar themes. Nami is still a fugitive from the law and she has yet another relentless copper obsessively chasing her. She finds shelter, and even affection, in the arms of a porno theater employee who still has an old score to settle with the police. But when he get captured by the police and brutally interrogated, he betrays Nami's hideout place. Back in prison our heroine picks up her old habits of causing riots, manipulating personnel and fellow inmates and – of course – attempting to escape from the hangman's rope. "Grudge Song" is definitely still a good movie, far superior to the majority of contemporary exploitation movies for sure, but a weaker entry in the series. The plot only offers few surprises and Nami suddenly transformed into a genuine antagonist to the audience as well. You always sympathized with her before, but here she commits a handful of crimes that can't possibly be justified. She also talks a little more in this film, and her silence was part of her charming personality in the other installments. Talking in terms of visual decoration, "Grudge Song" is fairly mediocre with only a couple of noteworthy highlights (like the truly menacing POV-shots of the noose in the middle of the prison's yard). This film also immediately marked the end of the "official" Female Scorpion cycle. The successors, appropriately entitled NEW Female Prisoner, don't star Meiko Kaji in the title role any longer and aren't directed by any of the above-mentioned directors. I'm curious about the remaining two films (which I own in a fancy box set), but I'm keeping the expectations rather low just to be sure.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    After the ending of BEAST STABLE - there really wasn't a whole lot of room left for a fourth entry in the FEMALE PRISONER: SCORPION film story-wise, but I guess someone thought there was some money to be made and squeezed this one out. Not a bad entry - a little duller than some of the others - but still worth a look to the series fan...

    Yet again our favorite jail-breaking, little-speaking delinquent is on the run. The cops find her at a wedding, but of course she escapes their clutches yet again. Injured from her run-in, she is discovered by a strip-club worker who takes her in and harbors her from the cops. The two form a sort of alliance - but is this guy to be trusted, or will he also let her down in the end? That is the question...

    Another pretty solid entry in the series - GRUDGE SONG is neither extremely notable, nor is it "bad" in any way. Being a pretty big fan of pinky-style material - I can honestly say that I haven't seen one yet that I didn't enjoy on some level. GRUDGE SONG did drag in parts but overall it is still solid with a decent storyline. Definitely recommended if you've seen and liked the other FEMALE PRISONER films...7.5/10
  • This begins well enough and has enough going on, a male helper this time, to maintain the interest until the most exciting scenes come along. It is a good idea that Meiko's seeming saviour here has had history with the police already from his days of 60s student rebellion. Flashbacks enable stand-in director Hasebe to double his violent police demonstrations with current and b/w past. This is number four in the series, however, and needed more not less in the way of interesting action and visuals. Gone are the stylish sequences and gone the surrealism. The endings, both false and actual are fun and if this is a disappointment it is no disgrace and while not the greatest of finales, probably a much better fourth episode than many might have expected. Worth seeing.
  • martin-fennell15 October 2017
    I found the main character less appealing than i had in previous entries in the series.She seems nastier, as if any remaining vestiges of humanity had been erased from her.But it's still a very good movie, and is fit to stand beside the previous 3 movies. So I would still recommend it to fans of the series.
  • Nami Matsushima, the Scorpion, still on the run from Kodama, meets Yasuo. Together they try to exact revenge on the corrupt detective, but when things go awry, Nami is back in prison and has to find a way to escape before being hanged.

    Meiko Kaji returned to play the title role, but director Shunya Ito was replaced by Yasuharu Hasebe (1932-2009). Hasebe was more controversial, and is best known for his movies in the "violent pink" subgenre of the Pink film, such as "Assault! Jack the Ripper" (1976), and the provocatively-titled "Rape!" (1976), "Rape! 13th Hour" (1977) and "Raping!" (1978). Take from that what you will.

    Because of the change in director, some people do not consider this to be a "full" sequel in the Scorpion series, despite the lead actress returning. I have no opinion on that one way or the other.