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Movie Review: Scorpion's Revenge

Scorpion's Revenge an updated version of the famous Female Convict Scorpion, or Joshuu Sasori movies from the 1970's. Yohko Saitoh takes over the role of lead character, Nami Matsushima, from Meiko Kaji. This one, like the others, takes place in prison, which once again brings up the question, do we really need another women-in-prison movie? Alas, as long as there exists straight men and gay or bi women, the answer will always be yes. Okay, so let me knock out the basics questions that everyone has on their mind. Is there a shower scene? Yes. Is there boobs? Yes. Is there sex? Barely. Is there violence? Barely. How long into the movie before she goes to prison? Almost immediately... but she's only there for half the movie. Okay, now lets get to the plot.

The movie opens by cutting between two different scenes, one with Nami Matsushima making love to her wonderful fiancé, Jiro, and the other with Nami being introduced to prison. We don't know why she is in prison at this point, though we are shown Nami choking Jiro during their sex scene, which is just the filmmakers trying to fool the audience because it has nothing to do with anything. So they finish and get ready for work, but then Jiro forgets his lighter at the last minute and has Nami to go grab it while he pulls the car out. Funny thing is, she can't find it anywhere, and then... BOOM, their car explodes, engulfed in a huge fireball. Either it's a super-freaky accident, or someone really doesn't like poor Jiro.

Scorpion's Revenge So now it becomes clear, Nami must have tried to take revenge on Jiro's killer and got locked up in prison. Nope, sorry. A short time later we find out that Nami was tried and convicted of murdering of her fiancé Why? Well, besides the fact that only a month prior, Jiro took out a 1.2 million dollar life insurance policy on himself, with Nami as the beneficiary, neither her nor any of the police were able to find the missing lighter. Of course, we also learn that Jiro was a lawyer and had lots of enemies, and Nami was a successful interior designer, so she really wasn't hard up for money. So I guess it's just that the writers didn't have enough time to come up with something a lot more feasible, especially considering this all takes place in Los Angels. And while we're on the subject of being in L.A., those women's prison uniforms don't look like any U.S. prison outfit I've ever seen. They're basically white panties barely covered by blue dresses that come down about as far as the smallest miniskirt you've ever seen.

Scorpion's Revenge In the prison, Nami happens to get the cell next to the only other Japanese inmate, Yukiko. So is it coincidence, or is the warden just a nice guy? It's coincidence, without a doubt, because the warden is a bible-thumping psycho bastard who enjoys raping the inmates. He has his favorite prisoner, some blonde American chick who is never given a name, bring the women to him and take them back when he's done. When Nami hears it happen to Yukiko, she gets determined to bust out! Her chance comes when she's brought in for the wardens pleasure. Using a knife she made out of a Yukiko's broken harmonica, she plunges it into his eye. I think this was probably the only special effect in the whole movie. Hm... let me think... oh yeah, there was that car explosion at the beginning... um... yeah, I think that's it.

Scorpion's Revenge Now then, Nami needs to get the keys from the warden's favorite prisoner, but the woman isn't ready to just hand them over. A couple warning swipes of the knife doesn't make her any more cooperative, but it does cut open her shirt. Anyway, somehow Nami manages to thrust the woman's head into the cell bars (no special effect there, it's just the camera zooming in on the bars), knocking her out cold. Taking the keys, Nami frees Yukiko, and then the rest of the prisoners. At least, I thought they were prisoners... I mean, that's what you'd normally think seeing them all in the same uniform behind bars. But then during the jail break, they all seemed to be running around the prison yard like it was a slumber party or something. Nami and Yukiko make it out, a few of the prisoners get shot (oh, wait, squibs count as a special effect, don't they?), and I have no idea what happened to everyone else... uh, detention?

Scorpion's Revenge Nami and Yukiko make their escape traveling across the California desert, with apparently nobody chasing after them at all. I had no idea it was that easy to escape from an L.A. prison... kind of makes me wonder why prisoners don't do it more often. Of course it isn't all fun and games. They desert heat gets to them both, and they collapse. Day turns to night, and then back to day, where they mysteriously find themselves in some giant windmill farm... which gives them the strength to go on. Go on where, you ask? Why to take revenge of course! Revenge on who, you ask? Well, Yukiko wants to take revenge on a guy that killed her boyfriend and tried to rape her... oh, hold on, did I mention that Yukiko was blind? No? Ah, that's because up to this point, I didn't know! I didn't find out until she told her flashback story. I still don't know why they didn't do her flashback when they were in prison, so we would know why she was there and give us a reason to care about her getting out.

Scorpion's Revenge Okay, back to Nami. She wants to take revenge upon whomever killed Jiro. Problem is, she doesn't know who killed Jiro. Well, what about the lawyers, you ask? Sorry, too late. Somebody's already killed them all. Okay... well, now what's she gonna do? Will she be able to uncover the truth behind who killed her fiancé. Does it have anything to do with all the recently deceased lawyers? Will it make any sense at all? And what about Yukiko, will she get her revenge? Will she do it with the gun that we later see her practicing with? Will the L.A. police just give up looking for two escaped convicts? Will anybody even care? Yes, yes, not really, of course, yes, apparently, and nope. There, now take a look at the screenshots and you can save yourself ten bucks. Go spend it on Terminatrix or Sumo Vixens. Actually, both those titles are included in the Kei Mizutani DVD Collection, along with four other titles I haven't seen yet: The Ladies' Phone Club, Tokyo Decameron: Three Tales of Madness & Sensuality, Undressed for Success, and the one I really want to see, Weather Woman, which looks hilarious based on the trailer included on this DVD. So it might actually be worth just getting that entire set.

Scorpion's Revenge is being re-released August 2nd of 2005 on DVD for $9.95 by Central Park Media under their Asia Pulp Cinema label. It contains the Japanese language track with optional subtitles as well as the English dubbed track. The film stars Yohko Saitoh as Nami Matsushima, Shizuka Ochi as Yukiko, and Michael Hegedus as the warden. It was originally released in Japan in 1997 under the title "Sasori in U.S.A", and then in the US on September 9, 2003.

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