Monday, November 16, 2015
When Satoru Ogura suggested that Suzuki make a follow-up to his most notorious film, Branded to Kill, the result was this eye-popping action extravaganza, which is less a sequel than a compact retrospective of Suzuki’s style and themes, updated with CGI effects and infused with the metaphysical concerns of the Taisho Trilogy. Makiko Esumi plays Stray Cat, the number-three killer in her assassins’ guild. She battles her way to the top against characters such as Painless Surgeon, a cowboy who can feel no pain, and the mysterious number-one killer, Hundred Eyes. Along the way, Stray Cat detours into the land of the dead, where her victims lurk, and into the “Atrocity Exhibition,” where she battles foes amid grotesque paintings from throughout art history. Pistol Opera proves that even in his seventies Suzuki’s creativity was still firing on all cylinders. Print courtesy of the Japan Foundation.