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Female Convict Scorpion aka Sasori [Blu-ray]
(Joe Ma, 2008)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Art Port
Video: Tokyo Shock
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,294,976,268 bytes
Feature Size: 22,855,538,688 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: April 10th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Cantonese 2180 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2180 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Cantonese 1333 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1333 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
•Original Trailer (1:40)
Description: An ordinary woman is transformed into a fighting machine in the wake of a shocking crime in this action drama from Japan. Sasori (Miki Mizuno) is a housewife happily married to a policeman (Dylan Kuo) who plays guitar in his spare time. One day, a gang of violent criminals break into Sasori's home and take hold of her husband as Sasori is goaded into murdering his sister. When the police arrive, Sasori is arrested as her husband sits in stunned silence. Convicted of murder, Sasori must prove her mettle against the tough-as-nails inmates at a grim women's prison, but the former housewife reveals she can give as good as she gets in a fight. Sasori runs afoul of the prison staff and the warden (Lam Suet) exiles her into a woodland just outside the prison grounds, where she's isolated with little hope of escape. To Sasori's surprise, she encounters a hermit known as the Corpse Collector (Simon Yam), who gives her a crash course in the martial arts and helps her escape. Sasori fights her way back to civilization and tracks down her husband, who is now playing with a rock band at a night spot, while his wife is determined to get revenge for being sent through hell.
Joe Ma's Sasori is a film that comes with all sorts of expectations and baggage attached being, as it is, not only a restart but also something of a re-envisioning of the classic 1970's Japanese exploitation series Female Convict Scorpion 701. It should come as no surprise then that reactions to the film have been sharply polarized, that this is a film that people either love or hate, but what is a bit surprising is why. It's not that the film has in any way toned down the exploitation elements, those are there in spades. It's not the fusion of Hong Kong and Japanese influences, that was expected with the film coming out of the ongoing partnership between Hong Kong's Sameway and Japan's Art Port and it falls in nicely with the bleak, hard edged 1980's aesthetic already established in Shamo and Dog Bite Dog. No, the dividing factor is that Ma tells his story in a very abstract, almost impressionistic style that you expect from an arthouse picture rather than an exploitation grinder. In many ways the criticisms against this film are the same as those leveled against recent films such as Susie Au's Ming Ming and Phillip Yankovsky's Sword Bearer, criticisms stemming from the same basic issue. Well, I am a big admirer and supporter of both of those other films so it should come as no surprise that I am also very much on the love side for Sasori as well.Excerpt from Todd Brown at Twitch located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Female Convict Scorpion has style all over the place from intentional heavy grain-like appearance to indiscriminant Grindhouse scratches. Via the Blu-ray from Media Blasters - the 1080P handles this variety but it's hard to know where to identify intended noise from transfer limitations. I presume the faded look is part of the style - and that the single-layered rendering with nominal bitrate is reporting a reasonably faithful appearance. A lot of this is dull, flat and contrast can be over-saturated - but it is so extensive that it must be an homage to the original - methinks. It was entertaining to watch - from some rapid cuts and telling much of the story visually and through flashbacks (in the beginning). This is all kinda cool but this isn't a Blu-ray that you would use to show-off your system. Female Convict Scorpion, intentionally or not, can look quite poor.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
So I've been informed that the original audio for the film is in Japanese but the menu claims the 2 options are for Cantonese - both tracks via DTS-HD Master in 5.1 or 2.0. Trouble is there is very little dialogue - this story is told, predominantly, through vignettes. During the spare dialogue I didn't notice DUB sync issues. Of course there are a ton of effects - even beyond the fighting. A fair amount of crispness and potent depth. There are optional English subtitles in a bright yellow font (se sample below).
Trailer and previews. Nutt'in more.
May 17th, 2012
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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