Sex and Fury (1973)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Samurai Film  |   Run Time - 89 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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This dizzying combination of brutal swordplay and softcore sex is a perfect example of Japan's uniquely personalized exploitation cinema. Sex & Fury is packed to the gills with bloody violence and bare flesh, often depicting both at the same time -- one memorable scene features a stark-naked Reiko Ike having a sword fight with countless men in the snow. The bold, explicit of the approach of the filmmakers is likely to scare off most mainstream viewers, but adventurous film fans should note that Sex & Fury isn't the typical exploitation outing. For one, the plot is surprisingly complex for a 90-minute film, weaving together a number of subplots with deft skill, and the story works in some amusing anti-government and anti-big business messages along the way. Sex & Fury further benefits from dazzling direction by Norifumi Suzuki, who uses the pulpy storyline as a springboard for all manner of bizarre visual excesses like a snowfall that transforms into a rain of Japanese playing cards, and the aforementioned scene of naked swordplay in the snow. Finally, and most importantly, Sex & Fury is anchored by the charismatic lead performance of Reiko Ike; the camera loves her and she's tough enough to command respect no matter what bizarre situation she is in. Ultimately, Sex & Fury is most likely too bizarre and excessive for the average viewer, but dedicated fans of grindhouse fare and foreign weirdness will treasure it.