SAILOR SUIT AND MACHINE GUN BLU RAY REVIEW

Within the Yakuza canon of Japanese cinema, we have seen, ghost Yakuza, vengeful Yakuza and even horror Yakuza. But rarely do you find they have to handle a teen drama about the female of the species and their voyage of youthful discovery. Well now SAILOR SUIT AND MACHINE GUN fills this void like a submachine gun carrying teenage hero. Now it might not be to everyone’s taste. Heck its not really to mine. I have never seen this before and to be honest it wasn’t a fast draw to review but then what is. Hiroko Yakushimaru stars as Hoshi Izumi. Ths film launched her as the face of the 80s youth in Japan. She is a schoolgirl whose father dies and she finds herself next in line as the boss of a moribund yakuza clan called the Matsuka family. Moving from the classroom to the criminal underworld is not easy and neither is earning respect or command of others. Her gang though are loyal and as she must come to terms with the fact that her actions hold the key to the life or death of the men under her command, she sees that others are exploiting her powers and influences. Adapted from Jiro Akagawa’s very popular novel, its the sort of film that defuses and confounds expectation.

Director Shinji Somai, is as the notes say, a massively influential figure in Japanese cinema. He also has little footprint outside Japan. Though truthfully this is more to do with a audience finding a home than a director finding his voice. The release here has two versions of the film on display, one is too short and the other to long. One is 1080p and looks it. The other has a 4K scan and looks like the 1080p version. The extra portions of the disc have some issues also. There is little extra to dig in. I have noticed this with Arrow recently and it is a worrying trend. Pay more, get less. The label is strong but at the peak, you can see that which will bring you down. Arrow should resolve this immediately.

  • High Definition Blu-rayTM (1080p) presentations of the Original Theatrical Version and the 1982 Complete Version (kanpeki-ban) re-issue of the film, restored by Kadokawa Pictures from a 4K scan of the original negative
  • Original uncompressed Japanese mono and 5.1 audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Girls, Guns and Gangsters: Shinji Somai & Sailor Suit & Machine Gun, an exclusive new 50-minute documentary featuring actor Akira Emoto, film scholar Chika Kinoshita, Somai biographer Tatsuya Kimura and Sailor Suit assistant director Koji Enomoto discussing the making of the film, its director and its legacy.
  • Original Trailers and TV spots for both versions
  • Image Gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Michael Lomon

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