I SAW A FILM!
Sometimes I’m surprised by a film’s boldness, and unusual direction, other times a film is so unusual in it’s scope that you’re entirely off-balance the entire time trying to take it in. Sometimes this is a cultural matter, sometimes it’s just a plain artistic stretch factor.
So at first glance, as I pondered what I was experiencing in BWC, I thought I saw a Zatoichi story done female! And while this is so, 50 years ago, there’s a lot more going on than a simple tale of revenge (as Amazon would have you imagine) or your typical Zatoichi setting things right. This is a Yakuza war film set in an age between the last of the old and the emergence of the modern. Swords, revolvers and tattoos play their parts. But, it’s also not just a Yakuza sword flick, it’s also a jaw-droppingly weird horror film, invoking zombies, witches, a wicked hunchback and a bizarre black cat with possible mad anthropomorphic spirit. And if that’s not enough, there are elements of almost unimaginable comedy heaped into it. Are you on board yet? Strap in.
Much of the backbone of the tale is a yakuza feud, territories are disputed, and a traitor leads a hit squad into an ambush. When the bodies come back war is on. The lovely lady leading her clan, back from her stay in prison, and joined by some of her female prison pals, specializes in a sword style that makes use of a shoulder to shoulder approach that unites a long dragon tattoo emblazoned across all five of the fighter’s backs. No kidding! It’s kind of writhes and wriggles as the fighters come together and approach the enemy. She’s joined by a hero, who stays above most of the fray, but protects the clan from the depredations of the wicked enemy clan. The enemies however are joined by the Blind Swordswoman who was blinded five years ago by our leading lady! She didn’t meant to do it, but in times like these no one is much taking account of intentions.
Planted drugs, fights on bridges, bizarre tortures and twisty plots all lead to the big show-down between the ladies. Who will emerge the victor? Well I’ll definitely leave it for you to figure out.
I am sure that westerners are missing many of the jokes and other weirdnesses in terms of ghosts, cauldrons, corpses and wild occurrences, but as you might suspect you won’t be able to take your eyes off it, and you won’t forget it. These are your cute internet cats!
This film runs for free on prime! You may want to not be eating dinner during it!