Black Angel

Japan, 1997
Original title: Kuro no Tenshi Vol 1

Director: Takashi Ishii
Starring: Riona Hazuki, Reiko Takashima, Jinpachi Nezu
IMDB: 5.6

Black Angel is a gritty yakuza revenge flick, with stylish cinematography, good acting and a complex script that comes very close to being an exceptional genre flick. Unfortunately a few slow and inept scenes spoil the pacing a little ... but this is still a solid film that fans of this style will want to check out.

For the most part the movie keeps the action flowing, gunfights and showdowns occurring regularly. This is no sugar-coated action flick either ... there is rape, brutality, and generally no respect for life shown amongst Tokyo's criminal underworld. This film shows the dark and violent side of the yakuza in a story that is much more convoluted than you'd expect in an action film. The generally dark and grimy atmosphere is enhanced by often being shot in the pouring rain, and in wet, dark warehouses.

The story revolves around Ikko (Riona Hazuki), who as a young child luckily survives a yakuza hit on her family and is whisked off to America for safe-keeping. Years later when she is grown up, she returns to her homeland to exact revenge on those who killed her family. Finding out exactly who is responsible proves to be a twisted web of intrigue and suspect loyalties in the yakuza underworld.

Fans of the 'girls with guns' genre are sure to love this - the lead actresses are tough, attractive, and know how to strike a menacing pose with gun in hand. Although their fighting skills don't look too menacing, their flimsy kicks are backed up by some awesome sound effects which results in making the fight scenes quite amusing.

There's also a bit of sex thrown in, nothing too explicit - although it is slightly twisted and used to show the inter-relationships and motives between characters. Given that some of the director's other work includes Angel Guts and Flower and Snake, the sex aspect is remarkably restrained.

The performances by the lead actresses are realistic and impressive, especially Riona Hazuki who is really put through her paces in this.

Summary

If you're a fan of the 'girls with guns' genre, then you will definitely want to check this out, as its one of the better ones. Its dark, violent, sexy, and well-made although a few flaws take its score down a little.

6.5/10

Screenshots - click to enlarge




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