Kill Bill series as Quentin Tarantino says, inspired by a certain movie. Especially the Vol 1 episode, he was inspired by Akira Kurosawa samurai movies and yes, another film he mentioned which I never really bothered for sometime. The movie was Lady Snowblood.
After watching it, wow.. He really got inspired from this film. Not really copied it but instead, he got some scenes that put it in Kill Bill that shown in a different way. Great old japanese flick.
Story was very not easy to digest. Baby was born in a police prison from a dying mom. Then shifts 20 years later, a lady in white kimono walks over a very cold snow evening. Passed a gang with it’s leader, killed the group with it’s leader. She is an assassin for hire, her name is Lady Snowblood.
Then, after doing the job, she requested help from the leader of the peasant village to search 3 people for her, for vengeance. The leader oblige, he was able to find the first man, then Yuki (Lady Snowblood) visited the old man, in a sickly state, killed the dude. Then another person that she was able to find was a lady. That lady heads a kinda shady restaurant, found by a renegade writer who she met at a cementery. The lady lord ordered her cohorts to dispose Yuki but well, they failed. The lady lord committed suicide then she was slashed by Yuki. It was discovered as the film goes that the 3 people Yuki looking for were the ones who killed her father and young brother (which it did not show in the film) and raped her mother. Her mother was able to killed one of them. They were 4 spinsters at a village who said can protect their kids going to army by paying them 260 yen each. Unfortunately as Yuki’s parents going to that village as her father as a teacher, wearing in white suit, was attacked by that 4 people. Wearing white suit at that time 20 years ago means you are the recruiter of the government which people feared at that time.
After they got the money, the 4 member of the group escaped, one of them brought Yuki’s mother to Tokyo, but her mother has other plans. She was able to kill off that one member! As she tries to kill the other members, she was caught by the police. Then, she became a prostitute to have a child (if I heard it right) then cursed the child to do the vengeance for her. The child Yuki was brought up by her mother’s friends in prison and one former samurai turned priest to train her to become an ultimate killing assassin.
Thought that her mission to kill the 3 people was finished. A guy shows up at that writer’s den and discovered that the one of the killer’s of her father was still alive. The writer was the son of that one guy. Yuki decided to finally finish her mission by going in the party of the arms deal then was able to find the real guy. He changed his looks and name, his son was able to grab him and Yuki pierced the sword to both of them, finishing that arms dealer guy with a slash.
Bloodied and weak, she roam off in the street then was stab by the daughter of the first guy he killed.. She fell and woke up in the next morning, alive but weak. She cried that was able to finish the mission and lived..
Before I say why it became a classic, let’s say it has one glaring flaw which I can say forgiveable. It has some flaws like some effects of blood were not consistent. Some of the action scenes were not that polished but it worked great for the film. The only thing that quite bothered me was the face of Yuki. If she was 20 at that film, I hope the director got a different or at least, 20 year old japanese lady. Although I love the acting of Meiko Kaji, I just hope they get a lady that you know beautiful at wearing in kimono and looks like 20. I love Meiko Kaji looks at female scorpion series but in this one, great thing she has the action and acting skills but some of the angles in her film, I hope they got a better looking lady. I don’t hate it, I hope they just improved that in aspect. But since Meiko was able to deliver a great acting performance, her simple beauty is enough for this film.
Great directing, because he was able to set the tone, the dark tone of the film all through out. From the origin of the story until it’s end.. Although it was sad but well, the pace of vengeance story has it’s glory. I’m glad Yuki still alive after of all what happened. The director was able to have all the actors done their parts, even the small part of Yuki’s father. The shots he took that inspired Q to do it in kill bill, like the glaring comparison was the shot of 4 people staring at bride’s dead body. That has the same shot in the film. I believe also that it has low budget, it looks like it was shot with a good budget, so give the director kudos to that.
Fantastic screenplay, as based in a manga.. Although the story has many subplots alone, great storytelling and pace made the film not really dwelling at the past.. It moves forward as Yuki goes and the dialogue there was deep, has feelings, even the daughter of the first killed person of Yuki, she has good dialogue even in that small role. How about those 4 conspirators? The priest as well.. Good training by him. The sorrow monologue done by Yuki’s mother, telling her story to her friends in prison. It’s sad but that’s how the real story goes.
Action scenes were thrilling and fun! I love the action scenes, how Meiko handled her sword under it’s umbrella. The first scene how she disposed the gang.. Then, the attack in the restaurant, and yes the final attack in the party. That chick is quite skilled. Scary lady, but I love that. Brave and deadly silent.
Lastly, give great credit to all the actors of the film. Besides Yuki, I love the acting made by the priest, hmmm the writer, the 4 conspirators even the other one did not speak a line. Lastly, special credit to Yuki’s mom.. That role was very difficult. Meiko Kaji deserves uneding praise of the film, even she was the main focus in this film, she never failed to amuse every scene. Even she has only few emotions to show, but that’s how you see when a person living thru Vengeance. I believe all the vengeance stories done these days or after those years besides Kill Bill was patterned in this movie. Like a great example, from Sympathy to Lady Vengeance, Jang Geum if I’m right inspired by watching this movie. Except of course the swordfights.. I love a shot there where Yuki was wounded in her arm, that piercing eyes.. Very lovely but deadly.
Oh, I forgot, her voice as well as you know, she sang that film’s theme song. Lovely jazzy voice..
I watched the sequel and it was not that good but not that bad. It’s so-so but for the fans, it’s a treat.. But it’s really behind with it’s original. At least at that film, you can say she is fit for that age, her looks is enough for that film.
Behind those falling snow flakes, a woman walking with her umbrella alone, holding a will to live..