The Pinky Violence films would go on to become very popular in 1970's Japan, and this film is often seen as something of a precursor to the genre; and it's not really hard to see why, as although I wouldn't call this a 'full' Pinky Violence film - it certainly shares a lot in common with the films that would go on to become very popular in the seventies. The main thing, of course, that ties this film to the Pinky Violence flicks is the female protagonist; a lady loner who goes around with a samurai sword and a pistol looking for revenge on those that killed her father. The film starts in a gambling hall and we watch as our heroine catches a man gambling. Naturally, he's none to happy and after trying to jump her later on; she's saved by a young male swordsman. She later gets in with a local gang who happen to be at war with another over territory. She requests an audience with the boss leader and demands that the two gangs stop warring. Her hunt for her father's killer also continues, and it turns out that the killer may be closer home to than she first realised.A major theme that the film relies on is the idea of its female protagonist being caught in a "man's world" and insisting that she is, in fact, a man. As the genre moved on, the female leads would become more infallible and always superior to the men; but in this film, that's not the case and indeed our heroine even relies on a bit of male help at times. The film is not as over the top, confusing or action packed as some of the later Pinky films and the plot follows a straight narrative that is easy to follow. Anyone going into this film expecting to see a hot chick slice up a load of people with her sword is liable to be disappointed; but there's still plenty of swordplay in the film, and the ending in particular is a highlight on that front. There are plenty of not so savoury characters in the film also but there's also a lot of honour too, which again distances the film from a lot of the later efforts. Overall, I can't say that I am as big a fan of this effort as I am of the likes of the genre on the whole; but this is a film that is certainly worth seeing.
This movie is very similar to a previous film made 3 years earlier called "The Cat Gambler" in which a young woman is seeking revenge among certain Yakuza gangs for the murder of her father. However, unlike the previous one this particular young woman named "Ryuko Yano" (Sumiko Fuji) is the daughter of a Yakuza boss and as a result doesn't need a mentor to help her navigate the dangerous world of the Yakuza. She is, however, quite skilled in the art of gambling with both dice and cards and uses that knowledge to her advantage. The problem is that she doesn't know the identity of the man who murdered her father and as a result she is at a huge disadvantage because of it. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was an interesting film which benefited from good performances by both Ken Takamura (as "Naoki Yatagiri") and the aforementioned Sumiko Fuji. Admittedly, the film leans very heavily upon Yakuza tradition and for that reason it may be difficult for some viewers to fully appreciate all of the subtleties but in any case I enjoyed this film and I have rated it accordingly. Above average.