By Craig Singleton (Wigan, England)
One of the best revenge film’s ever and the main influence of Tarantino’s Kill Bill is this martial arts gem for its style and strong images. The story starts with a woman named Sayo giving birth in prison. She’s in for life because she murdered one of the three men who killed her husband and son. She plots revenge by way of her new born daughter, Yuki who will be raised to learn how to fight and eventually kill the other two men.
The film shows Yuki as a young, frail girl learning how to sword fight and failing. In the next scene she is now seen without fear surely becoming the warrior her mother had hoped. Cut to five later after and Yuki played by Meiko Kaji is all grown and ready to fulfill her destiny. It doesn’t go quite how she hopes though.
This film is magic and shapes other Japanese martial art films, influencing the art of fighting to the death with paint-like blood squirting all over the show in the same way that Kill Bill did it. To get it out the way, Tarantino borrows plot points, characters and environment settings to pay tribute to this classic film. Even one of his characters, 0-Ren Ishii played by Lucy Liu, is modeled on Lady Snowblood.
The character of Snowblood is extremely intense and is perfectly acted in my opinion by Kaji. She has to hold her emotions back and stay calculated, but you can feel the hatred inside her. Her kills are immensely bloody violent which would shock some people back in the 70s when the film was released. The plot is engaging from the start and makes you care about whether the protagonist can even go through with her murderous rampage.
My score for the film is 81%. Lowest mark for soundtrack, highest for plot. The lovely places and sets for which to shoot in and the extreme close-ups of the fast paced camerawork make it a very stylish, entertaining flick. Definitely is one that I would recommend.