Stars: Meiko Kaji, Toshio Kurosawa
Genre: Chambara, Rape and Revenge
Lady Snowblood is a fucking kick ass movie. Based on the manga by Kazuo Koike, Shurayukihime. It also served as the main inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.
The film follows Yuki, who was born for one purpose and one purpose only: to avenge her mother, father, and brother, all of whom she never even met. Her mother, who was serving a life sentence in prison, only gave birth to Yuki so she could seek revenge (what a bitch, I know). Anyway, the story is about Yuki hunting down these wrongdoers and killing them. Born from death into a life of killing, waiting only for her own death.
It's a pretty damn cool story. It's exciting to see Yuki go and kill the next on her list, and it's also curious to watch Yuki's personality, because sure we know what her goal is and what her mother wanted her to do and what she was trained to do, but we never really get to know how she feels about it. So she's definitely an interesting, mysterious character. The story can also manage to be pretty haunting and disturbing at times.
The fight scenes are awesome (though all of them are pretty short) and there is tons of blood poured in here. Blood spurts from necks a dozen feet across the room, bodies are chopped in half, hands cut off, and more awesome things that would be much more rewarding to watch rather than read about. For a film called Lady Snowblood it has a lady who makes a lot of guys bleed...there's also a fair amount of snow (in case you were wondering).
The film is very visually pleasing. Has its own cool style to it. Blood on the snow always looks nice, but there's a lot of cool camera work and angles in here and just really beautiful landscapes and sets.
Soundtrack is great, especially the main theme, Flowers of Carnage, which was also used in Kill Bill.
The film was shot on a generally low budget (though no exact figure exists) and was shot with only 20,000 feet of film (that's not much). But for a low budget film it's unnoticeable, as the quality is high and is just as good, at least production wise, as any other Japanese Chambara film of the 1970s.
I won't spoil anything, but the last scene is really great, I love it. The ending is...perfect.
A generally underlooked film that definitely deserves more attention. A very thrilling watch. Be sure to check out my review for the sequel, Love Song of Vengeance.
Recommended for: fans of the genre, fans of any cast/crew, fans if Kill Bill or Tarantino