Delinquent Girl Boss (1970)
Yasuharu Hasebe directs Akiko Wada, Meiko Kaji and Kôji Wada in this gang movie where a lone biker girl catches the eye of various rumbling factions.
Akiko Wada: Denim clad, stony faced, cool as fuck. Underpass rumbles. A fixed fight. Conspiracy between yazuza and the authorities. Nightclub scenes so bands can break up the action in bopping interludes. A dangerous chase through an underground mall. Female empowerment with very little titillation.
Wild Jumbo (1970)
Toshiya Fujita directs Bunjaku Han, Meiko Kaji and Tatsuya Fuji in this gang movie where a group of wacky toughs take a trip to the beach and a plan for larceny emerges.
Feels like a film that has been reconditioned last minute to be a sequel. There’s a few sneaky edits to include footage of Akiko Wada in her denims to suggest this is the same universe. She doesn’t interact with the characters or plot. The tone fluctuates wildly: across the tracks romance, pranks and hanging about a la Porkys or American Pie, eventually an ambient heist movie. Ends on a Wild Bunch inspired finale – though you can’t believe we got there from the middle act though of mooning and mooching. Wild Jumbo has nice moments – an early freeze frame echoes into the tragedy of the conclusion. This has some film-making giblets, these movies don’t need such lovely visual poetry. And there’s a nice subplot with some dangerous buried treasure. Random. But the gang is mainly middle-aged clowns playing young and that’s ultimately not really want you want from a Japanese girl gang exploitation flick.
Sex Hunter (1970)
Yasuharu Hasebe directs Meiko Kaji, Rikiya Yasuoka and Tatsuya Fuji in this Japanese gang movie where racial disharmony creates violence in Yokosuka.
Now this is the one I saw at the NFT as part of their Japanese Exploitation season around 15 or so years ago. Meiko Kaji looks stunning in her iconic black and white extreme cavalier get up. Racism and rape tackled. Overwrought death sequences – edited like a five-year-old is cutting a music video. Loads of cool framing and intercuts. Western vibes, sniper finale, branded Coke bottles a-gogo. It is all very close but this is still my personal highlight of the series.
Machine Animal (1970)
Yasuharu Hasebe directs Meiko Kaji, Tatsuya Fuji and Bunjaku Han in this Japanese gang movie where the girls rob and then help a Vietnam deserter and his drug dealing buddies.
Most straightforward – 500 hits of LSD are worth a million yen and everyone wants to sell them. The girls steal a shipment of Mini Honda bikes at one point, chase the antagonists around the streets and then return the cute motors to the showroom. Anti-Vietnam message, spaghetti Western score. Runs out of steam but inoffensive.
Beat ’71 (1970)
Toshiya Fujita directs Tatsuya Fuji, Yoshio Harada and Meiko Kaji in this Japanese gang tale where a group of weirdos chase a lost member to his hometown only to find he is being held hostage by his domineering father.
Everyone is back for one last romp involving girls framed for murder, drop-out hippie druggies (not convincing) doing cons and two unloved sons. Not enough Meiko Kaji and we are three further films since the awesome Akiko Wada was stealing all the focus. Why do the goofiest entries end in the biggest massacres? Dynamite, rabbits, fake wild west. Even the pop bands are questioning why they have turned up to be in this one.
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We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/