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Hard Revenge, Milly: Bloody Battle
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by Jay Seaver

"Japanese action & gore done right."
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2009 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: As the colon and subtitle in its name might indicate, "Hard Revenge, Milly: Bloody Battle" is a sequel, but that's no reason that anyone who likes a good, bloody action movie should pass it up: Not only was its predecessor well under an hour long and recapped succinctly as the new one starts, but "Bloody Battle" plays more as the start of something good than a continuation.

Milly (Miki Mizuno) killed Jack (Mitsuki Koga) and his gang, avenging the murder of her family, and now finds herself at something of a loose end. She won't be for long, though: A trip into town to sell the guns she recovered from a gang foolish enough to attack her (apparently not realizing she has weapon-filled artificial limbs) reveals that she's not the only person interested in revenge in this violent world: Escaped killer Ikki (Kazuki Tsujimoto) was a big admirer of Jack as a ruthless criminal (and sexy man), and has his brother Hyuma (Ray Fujita) as an accomplice; Haru (Nao Nagasawa) wants Milly's help in finding and killing the person who killed her boyfriend.

Filmmaker Takanori Tsujimoto has the audience covered whether they've seen "Hard Revenge, Milly" or not; flashbacks are used judiciously enough that the new audience never feels like they are behind, although the film feels very much like a continuation for the rest. He doesn't repeat the set pieces and crazy weapons from the original, but doesn't forget them, either. The story itself is pretty straightforward, but features enough turns to keep things interesting. He's good at giving the audience what they want, carnage-wise, but not using that as an excuse to slack off. A lot of these low-budget Japanese action movies are flimsy excuses to throw a few crazy bits of gore together; Tsujimoto is telling a story while bringing the bloodshed.

It's some quality violence, too. Yoshihiro Nishimura is handling make-up and special effects, and he's one of the best Japan's got - if you need the human body sliced up, fused with machines, or otherwise mutilated, Nishimura is the guy to get. He's got plenty of opportunity to do his thing, as both Milly and Ikki have cyborg parts that get plenty of use. Action co-ordinator Kensuke Sonomura stages some good fights, too; both Miki Mizuno and Kazuki Tsujimoto can sell a good fight, and have plenty of opportunity.

The cast isn't bad in the acting department, either. You're not going to find award contenders here or anything, but most of the major characters do a fine job. Kazuki Tsujimoto goes big with Ikki, and what else are you supposed to do with a gay sociopath looking to avenge his crush and convince his brother of the advantages of liking other guys? Tacky, yes, but funny without making the villain less menacing. Ray Fujita plays off him well, smart and loyal but reluctant. Nao Nagasawa is a determined sidekick, and Miki Mizuno does a good job of grounding the movie. She's playing a revenge-seeking cyborg who has had all sorts of body-parts replaced by weapons, but she gets across all the intelligence and world-weariness to get the audience to not only root for her, but believe in her.

Indeed, by the end, I wanted to see more of Milly and her world. Tsujimoto doesn't end this film on a cliffhanger or stray far from the straightforward plot, but in between he does plant hints about Milly and the world around her; enough to make me eager to see where he goes if he gets the chance to do a third Milly movie.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=19554&reviewer=371
originally posted: 08/20/09 21:59:35
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Fantasia Festival For more in the 2009 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2009 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2009 series, click here.

User Comments

5/13/10 porfle This movie is a blast of pure cinematic awesomeness. 5 stars
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