HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Siddhartha
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
Old Guard, The
Gumnaam
Disappearance at Clifton Hill
Sullivans, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
   
 
  Hanzo the Razor The long schlong of the law
Year: 1972
Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yukiji Asaoka, Mari Atsumi, Kô Nishimura, Kamatari Fujiwara, Akira Yamauchi, Koji Kobayashi
Genre: Sex, Martial Arts, Weirdo, Historical, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Infamous as the chanbara film where erstwhile Zatoichi star Shintarô Katsu portrays a hero who is a cross between Sherlock Holmes and, er, John Holmes, Hanzo the Razor concerns Hanzo Itami, an Edo-era police detective whose main mode of interrogation involves pleasuring female suspects with his monstrously massive, super-strong schlong. Sorry, but there is no polite way to describe this film’s premise. To keep his tool in tip-top shape, Hanzo practices torturous training sessions: using his erect member to lift huge piles of concrete bricks, shagging bags of dry rice or simply pounding his pizzle with a big mallet. No, really. The plot? Oh yeah... Suspecting his boss, the local magistrate, is corrupt after an infamous killer is released back on the street, Hanzo and his weaselly sidekicks frame and arrest the man’s mistress, Omino (Yukiji Asaoka). A night of orgasmic interrogation leaves her gasping for more and spilling the beans about conspiracy at the highest levels, involving the local lord and his daughter, Lady Oyaru (Mari Atsumi), who command an army of crack ninja assassins.

What in other cultures might be the premise for a sleazy low-budget porno served the basis for a glossy prestige production in Japan. Hanzo the Razor was based on an adult oriented manga or gekiga penned adapted for the screen by Kazuo Koike, creator of the internationally acclaimed Lone Wolf and Cub which was itself adapted into a series of films by innovative producer-star Shintarô Katsu as a vehicle for his elder brother, Tomisaburo Wakayama. In Japan, Koike is widely feted in elite literary circles for the wealth of meticulously researched historical detail featured in his samurai manga. But what his upmarket admirers are either unaware or else too uptight to mention is that Koike has a parallel career. He is also the writer behind some of the most outrageously lurid hardboiled semi-pornographic manga and anime thrillers ever made.

Take for example: Wounded Man (1986), wherein a soccer stud-turned-adventurer and his oft-naked girlfriends uncover a conspiracy perpetrated by Neo-Nazi porn barons amidst the steamy rainforests of Brazil. In one scene our hero injects liquid cement into his rock hard member so as to prolong a life-or-death shag. Or how about Mad Bull (1990), Koike’s reprehensible ode to American cop thrillers which has something to offend everyone. Hanzo the Razor unites both aspects of Koike’s character, for whilst its spectacularly violent action scenes and kinky sexual encounters are undoubtedly transgressive, the film has genuine substance mounting a stringent attack on the judicial system, the shogunate and other hierarchical areas most traditional chanbara films depict with respect.

Hanzo is your proverbial maverick cop whose unorthodox methods (try really unorthodox!) belie his morality, incorruptible nature, and sincere empathy with the downtrodden poor. This latter facet of his character is addressed in the poignant coda wherein Hanzo comes to the aid of two youngsters wrestling with the quandary of whether to help their terminally-ill father commit suicide. Almost all pinku eiga (Japanese sexploitation films) are wedded to the idea of sex as a form of revolution against a hypocritically uptight, secretly corrupt establishment. Hanzo is the embodiment of male virility, socking it to the man (so to speak) at a point in the early Seventies when many righteous young Japanese felt emasculated. The film is foremost a satirical black comedy. As is evident from the aformentioned training scenes or when Hanzo lowers one female from a net onto his erect member, spinning her around till she squeals in ecstasy, none of the sex scenes are meant to be taken seriously. Whilst glossy photography and impeccable production values can’t conceal the inherant misogyny of the premise, the sex scenes are more an extreme variant on the seduction techniques employed by James Bond than an endorsement of sexual torture. Koike’s screenplay states that, having tested all kinds of interrogation techniques on himself, Hanzo has come to the conclusion pleasure is a more efficient means of extracting information from women than pain. In fact he is downright courteous in his post-coital treatment of suspects than their male cohorts. Nevertheless, women will, perhaps justifiably, respond to such statements with greater scepticism than male viewers.

As directed by regular Katsu cohort Kenji Misumi the sex scenes unfold in psychedelic montages midway between baroque Seventies anime like Cleopatra (1970) and Tragedy of Belladonna (1973) and the kind of optical experiments one associates with Douglas Trumbull. Misumi, who made several of the most inspired films in the Lone Wolf and Cub series including Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972), brings his trademark vibrant visual style, translating the transgressive charge of Koike’s gekiga in audacious cinematic terms whilst the funky score by Kunihiko Murai sounds a lot closer to a blaxploitation movie or, dare one say it, a porno. Hanzo Itami and his crime-busting cock were back in action in The Snare (1973).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1565 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Kenji Misumi  (1921 - 1975)

Japanese director who specialised in samurai and swordplay films. Best known for the Babycart/Lone Wolf and Cub movies from the 70s, of which he directed four - Sword of Vengeance, Babycart at the River Styx, Babycart to Hades and Babycart in the Land of Demons. Also turned in several Zatoichi movies in the 60s, such as Showdown for Zatoichi, Zatoichi Challenged and Fight, Zatoichi, Fight.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: