Through intelligence, a beautiful eye for composition, captivating character connections, and the victory of sincerity over crassness, OKATSU THE FUGITIVE transcends trash and achieves art. Following in the pattern set by the previous two LEGENDS OF THE POISONOUS SEDUCTRESS films, Junko Miyazono portrays a woman horribly wronged and hell-bent on revenge. But – also following on this series’ take on pinky violence – it elevates rather than lowering itself, opting for originality over derivation. So, while a broad pattern of plot connects all three – the only other thread throughout (beyond the title) being the presence of Junko Miyazono – each one finds its own story to tell. Not its own variation on the same story, mind you, but its own story. Even these final two films – which have the extra connection of both having been directed by Japanese horror godfather Noguo Nakagawa – are entirely separate stories: same actress, same central character name, but totally different character. Similar motivations, though. Like I said, it’s easy to justify these three films as a bona fide trilogy, despite their stories being autonomous and not connected, because of overarching themes. But every film is a creation unto itself. Having said that … like with Nakagawa’s preceding Okatsu film, only the violence is graphic (and only sporadically so), with the sexuality being present in two forms: subtle eroticism and off-screen ravaging. All of the films elements are balanced in perfect proportions and OKATSU THE FUGITIVE is a beautiful but hard-edged tale of a powerful female character symbolically emasculating – and literally killing – the men (and women, for that matter) who have severely wronged her. Something particular to this entry is a number of twists and surprises along the way, another sign of the effort that went into making this a real cinematic story and not just a series of gratuitous set pieces strung together by a threadbare plot.
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