Sugar - Howling Of Angel (Japan 1996)

Rating: **
Review Date: 2/16/02
Cast: Makiko Kuno

Ugh. A senseless and disjointed medium budget rape-and-revenge flick with a classically nonsensical title. Pretty Chie Kogure's (Makiko Kuno) life has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Her husband and son were gunned down before her eyes, after which she was kidnapped, drugged, raped, and forced into prostitution. All in the first three minutes of the film, mind you. She manages to escape this hellish existence with the aid of one of her clients who is a professional assassin. Craving revenge, she becomes his partner and learns all the tricks of the trade. As it turns out, she really enjoys killing, and she jumps at any chance for a job. Conveniently for her, she eventually meets up with the men who were responsible for her lifestyle change and gruesomely dispatches them one by one. She even seems to achieve some sort of sexual satisfaction with her killings, and it becomes apparent that death is her only reason to live. Not surprisingly, her mentor soon becomes her enemy and they have to face-off against each other - but not before an extended wild romp in bed, of course. With her revenge complete, she sighs and smiles in post-orgasmic bliss as she disappears into the crowded streets of Tokyo...

Pretty unremarkable on all accounts, but much classier than the dreaded "Zero Woman" (1995) series which it attempts to emulate. While it's still chock full of uninteresting and unnecessary sex, the tone is much more subdued and there's a genuine attempt to downplay the exploitive nature of the material with drama and character development. Whether it succeeds on that account is questionable, but at least the film is watchable. Female action fans will probably enjoy watching Chie taking care of business, which she does with cold-hearted intensity. Very similar to her previous film, "XX: Beautiful Hunter" (1994).