Asami gives an utterly fearless performance

by Nav Qateel

Written and directed by Kurando Mitsutake, Gun Woman is a tale of murder and revenge, both of which come in the brutal variety. After being forced to watch his lovely wife being murdered and raped by the son of Japanese hood Hamazaki, a man now known as the Mastermind decides to take his revenge on the people responsible. He buys a drug addict who has lost the will to live, and then turns the woman into a lethal weapon.

The dialogue is in both English and Japanese, which is a format I happen to like. Mitsutake makes it work to his advantage, and it never feels like a simple gimmick or money-making contrivance. The Mastermind (Kairi Narita) plans to train Mayumi (Asami) how to fight and shoot to the best of her ability, but the only way he can get Mayumi near Hamazaki’s son (Noriaki Kamata), is to cut her open and hide a broken down automatic inside her body. The gun will then be reassembled, giving Mayumi 22-minutes to kill all the targets, at which point she must make her escape to get a life-saving blood transfusion. Sounds simple enough, right!?

The reason the Mastermind has to go to all this trouble is because Hamazaki’s son is heavily guarded 24/7. The only time of weakness is when the target attends an exclusive, out-of-the-way necrophiliac brothel, where security is so tight inside, no one is allowed near the place with firearms. In fact, security is so ridiculously tight, every single time a client arrives at the brothel, they are stripped naked and every orifice on their body is carefully searched and scrutinized. At this point I was asking myself if this was just too much silly detail. Say you do get a weapon inside the place by hiding it in one of your body holes. Who will you kill with it? A dead woman?

Gun Woman
Written & Directed by
Kurando Mitsutake
Asami, Kairi Narita, Noriaki Kamata
Release Date
Nav’s Grade: B

This tale of revenge is slowly revealed through a couple of hitmen who are on a long drive after having just carried out a hit. To pass the time they begin talking about Hamazaki’s son and the woman, each trying to guess how the Mastermind carried out his complex plan. This wraparound story adds a further dimension to Gun Woman, offering the viewer an anchor into a reality where pain actually hurts and gangsters can’t commit such atrocities with that level of impunity.

The brilliant 80’s vibe in Gun Woman is achieved through visual cues and a great score by Dean Harada–with much of it played on a synthesizer or effects-heavy electric guitar. For example, when we see Mayumi being put through a hard training regime, the accompanying tune is very like ‘Eye of the Tiger.’

The amount of gore and violence in Gun Woman is substantial and will no doubt alienate a lot of casual filmgoers, which is a pity as there’s so much to love about Mitsutake’s latest effort. It should be noted that this was created with rather a modest budget, hence a lot of the more bloody violence witnessed isn’t as realistic as it no doubt wanted to be.

While Gun Woman is bursting with the kind of style Tarantino fans will undoubtedly salivate over, there were two performances that elevated the film to even greater heights. Hamazaki’s twisted, sick and depraved son was played brilliantly by Noriaki Kamata (Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf). The talented Kamata created a figure who was very easy to hate and I found his performance to be most effective.

Asami gave an utterly fearless performance as Mayumi, especially being bare-assed naked for a majority of the time she was on screen. Not only did the petite actress have to fight with men almost twice her size–while completely naked and covered in blood–she also cut off her long hair using only a sharp knife! That level of commitment by any actor should be applauded. Asami put in a solid performance and we watched her suffer from drug withdrawals, then go on to learn how to fight hand-to-hand, all the while being beaten up until it was mastered.

Sure, the plot makes little sense and thanks to not having much in the way of a budget, a lot of the movie was pretty rough. But what we’re left with has the potential to go on to become a future classic. It’s stylish, moody, aggressive and nasty. What more can one ask of an indie film?

Gun Woman poster 1