Director: Hioshi Matsumoto
Starring: Nao Omori, Mao Daichi, Lindsay Hayward, Katagiri Hairi, Gin Maeda, Hitoshi Matsumoto, Suzuki Matsuo, Michie, Haruki Nishimoto, You
Plot: Takafumi Katayama (Omori) is a mild mannered bed salesman whose been rising his young son while his wife lies in a coma. Seeking a break from the norm joins a rather unusual bondage club.
Review: Considering this film is from the same director of “Big Man Japan” I guess I should have guessed sooner that this would be anything but a straightforward film as director Matsumoto here takes on Japanese censorship with the title based on the Japanese rating system meaning that no one under 100 should be able to watch this film supposedly. Matsumoto here manages to take things even further than my previous encounter with his work with his tale of a bondage club with a twist were members are tied into a year long contract and were at any given moment one of the clubs dominatrix’s will turn up and beat the hell out you. Oh did I mention that members can’t cancel early either.
A curious movie to say the least its one which wastes little time in cranking up the crazy, as we open to Katayama on a date with an attractive young woman who suddenly roundhouse kicks the tea out of his mouth, before following up this sudden surprise attack with a follow up attack which see her kicking him down a flight of stairs before ripping off her coat to reveal her leather dominatrix’s outfit. Katayama’s arousal by the situation highlighted by the first of the many (so many) aura ripples which accompany each of these increasingly bizarre encounters. Unquestionably this is a bondage club unlike any other from its carousel introduction through to its lovely ladies who appear one by one as the carousel turns around in a scene which is a visual pleasing as it is titillating.
The rules of the club however ensure that Katayama will not be enjoying these ladies in any traditional sense as he is forced to become completely submissive to these ladies who all come with their own specialities from the traditional bondage and S&M skills such as whips, riding crops or for some just the ability to beat the hell out of their client. However as the film continues these skills only become increasingly more random from “The Queen of Saliva” who can unleash gallons on spit through to the “The Queen of Voices” who can imitate any voice she chooses. A great (if slightly icky) scene seeing these two queens working together on a blindfolded and tied up Katayama as lead to believe that is being subjected to a barrage of sit from his work colleagues, friends and family.
True such scenes might seem like the film should be placed in the same category as the likes of “Tokyo Gore Police” and “The Meatball Machine” but these scenes are frequently played with such a comical edge rather than the exploitation style of the aforementioned films, while like Matsumoto’s previous film “Big Man Japan” this film instead exists within its own warped genre as it falls so frequently between a slapstick comedy and an experimental arthouse movie. However unlike similar films such as “Rubber” or “Survival Style 5+” atleast Matsumoto appears to be acknowledging how little sense things frequently make as the film takes regular intervals from the main story to cut to a group of movie executives walking out of a screening of the movie and commenting on what they have just seen, similar to the onlookers in “Rubber” especially as things get increasingly more surreal (just wait till you meet the “Queen of Gobbling”) which is kind of reassuring to know that you’re not the only one confused as to what it is that you’re supposed to be watching.
As with “Big Man Japan” it is of course when you’re just about getting into the rhythm of the film that mixes things up further still with a sudden tone shift which see’s Katayama taking on the Amazon blonde CO of the club and her army of leather clad dominatrix’s. While the CO announces her arrival by screaming and diving into the clubs swimming pool over and over again. Honestly I’ve no idea what the point of this scene was but its certainly amusing as hell to watch.
One of the main issues with this film is down to repetition as let’s face it you can only watch a guy get the hell beaten out of him so many times before it gets a little tiresome even if it’s by a bunch of attractive leather clad ladies. While at the same time the generally quite nature of Katayama makes him hardly the most thrilling of leading men especially when he spends the film in a state of emotional neutrality. Elsewhere the other gripe I have is with the film stock which makes the film seem cheap and proved an unwanted distraction especially during the slower moments but so is the issue of films being shot on digital.
Once again this film proves that to see something special that you can rely on Japan to provide it and while this film is in no way perfect its sheer randomness makes carries it through, though it’s doubtful that you will pay it a second visit