Director: Toru Ichikawa
Starring: Yu Misaki, Kenji Takechi, Kenichi Endo, Kenji Ohba
A series of murders is tearing through the Yakuza ranks of the Kurosawa-gumi with the tell tale signs of vengeance earmarked throughout. Rumors begin of the return of the Sekiryu; a legendary assassin who was thought dead along with his family in a home massacre 10 years previous. It is soon revealed that the eldest daughter Yui (Yu Misaki) has taken up the sword and begun a campaign of revenge against the gang who murdered her family. Along with her master (Kenji Ohba) and the unknowing Kurosawa lieutenant (Kenji Takechi) in love with her civilian identity, Yui will hunt down the top level enforcer Aramaki (Kenichi Endo) who she witnessed pulling the trigger on her father years ago.
This V-cinema actioner is one of those oddly entertaining films that suffers from a lack of filmmaking craft and a lot of genre cliches. At 77 Minutes the film never really overstays its welcome, but it does pad out the running time with gratuitous bits of nudity and oddly placed jokes that are not uncommon in this type of cinema but rarely ever hit in terms of real comedy. The action scenes range from average to mediocre with a large emphasis on posing and quick cuts that resemble the action elements of films like Versus but without the physical expertise to sell it in exchanges. It’s a bit disappointing to be sure, but not unexpected considering the typical quality of action in V-cinema. The exception is definitely Kenji Ohba, a veteran of tokusatsu series like Space Sherriff Gavan, who tears up the screen in the few bits they give him an opportunity to shine.
Acting is generally pretty rough with the lead, Misaki, typically having a dour face throughout with very little personality and Kenji Takechi typically hamming it up as a Yakuza in love. The veteran actors like Ohba and most noticeably Endo elevate the film quite a bit despite some lackluster material. Endo in particular brings a number of interesting traits to his character giving him a history that is tantalizingly mysterious despite never delving too deeply.
In the end, the film is more of a time waster than anything else. Amateurishly directed and with very little to draw viewers in beyond the purely cosmetic, Woman of Sekiryu is a film that will only appeal to a very small group. To be honest, i was much more interested in the earlier bit concerning Endo’s character and the yakuza group as a whole rather than the revenge actioner this film portrayed; perhaps it would be better for all involved, you readers as well, to revisit some real Yakuza films instead.