XX: Beautiful Prey (Japan 1996)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/12/00
Director: Toshiharu Ikeda
Cast: Kei Marimura, Makiko Watanabe

More twisted sex from Japan. For the most part, this is a good looking and well made erotic thriller, but it's far too nasty and misogynistic for my tastes. A woman with masochistic tendencies (Kei Marimura) plays a key role in an ongoing police investigation. It seems that everyone she has lurid interludes with ends up dying a horrible death soon after. An engaging female detective named Noriko (Makiko Watanabe) is on the case, and even her superior falls victim to the S&M games and winds up dead. As Noriko probes deeper into the madness of the female victim's world, she too ends up making love with her, only to be later captured by a psycho rapist who viciously brutalizes and humiliates her. Ugly stuff. But Noriko manages to get rescued and takes the bastard out (yay!). Then the last twenty minutes of the film is a bizarre and confusing exposition - particularly so because it's all in Japanese and I had no clue what was going on. Not overly satisfying stuff, although I did appreciate seeing Noriko whipping out her gun and chasing the rapist through the neighborhood. Her character was strong and handled very well - with the exception of the torture scenes, that is...