Gun Crazy Episode 1: A Woman From Nowhere (Japan 2002)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 8/3/03
Director: Atsushi Muroga
Cast: Ryoko Yonekura

A delightful girls with guns outing for anyone who enjoys watching women in black leather pumping bad guys full of lead and looking defiantly beautiful while they're doing it. Tough and beautiful Saki (Ryoko Yonekura) rolls into a run-down town on the outskirts of a U.S. army base just in time to witness two American soldiers gleefully and sadistically gunning down a fleeing Japanese man. It turns out that the town is under the cruel and oppressive rule of a man named Tojo who neither the Japanese police or the U.S. army can touch, which makes him an attractive target for bounty hunters. But Saki is no ordinary bounty hunter - she has a much more personal agenda... After numerous hardships, she finally gets a chance to face-off against Tojo, and while the climax is no surprise for anyone familiar with Japanese cinema, it's still delightfully satisfying.

A good looking and well produced shot-on-video effort from Pioneer Entertainment. The filmmakers are keenly aware of the fact that Ms. Yonekura is exciting to watch in action, and miss no opportunities to focus on that. Of course, that's the only reason the video exists, right? (too bad American filmmakers haven't figured this out yet!) Ms. Yonekura handles her scenes with flair and determination, and looks great handling a gun. The action scenes aren't overly ambitious, but shot and edited well enough to imply that there's more going on than what we're seeing. Apart from Saki's commanding presence, nothing stands out in the film as either spectacular or embarrassing, which makes it a simple pleasure throughout. I'm eagerly awaiting the next three episodes, and I hope that Pioneer releases them domestically (although I doubt they will for cultural and political sensitivity reasons - bastards).