Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler (1972) (DVD Review)
Directed By: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Starring: Meiko Kaji, Sonny Chiba
Rated: UR/Region: 1/Widescreen/Number of disc: 1
Available from Synapse Films
The Ginza Butterfly Nami (Meiko Kaji, returning to her role from the original) is back in a new story that finds her on the hunt for Hoshiden, the man who killed her gambler father when she was only a child. Arriving in Tokyo, Nami takes a job as a hostess in a swank Ginza club, all the while combing the back-alleys and gambling dens for news of Hoshiden s whereabouts. Local street entrepreneur Ryuji (the Street Fighter himself, Sonny Chiba) joins her in the search, and eventually in a bloody raid on the yakuza headquarters where Hoshiden now living incognito, under an assumed name is hiding out.
Meiko Kaji has came back for another round in the role of Nami! This time, however, if you want to try to up the ante, they went about it the right way with adding in none other than Sonny Chiba. So our female gambler is still gambling, as she is on the quest for revenge. Things go the gambling route as before and then ends up leading into more action and violence later in the film like before. Maybe this one does a little more in the middle, but seems to be at least making attempts here and there to add a little spice to the things in between than it did in the last movie, which wasn’t bad either. We all know Meiko Kaji is great and she keeps being great here as you’d expect. The addition of Sonny Chiba to the mix does add some cool to the movie’s overall status and it helps out when things do turn violent later on. It is a bit of a mystery at times, but things build up to a pretty good finale and I think you will enjoy our journey from point A to point B here in “She-Cat Gambler”. Like the last movie, it isn’t Lady Snowblood by any means, but it isn’t too shabby either all things considered.
So all things lead to a big battle at the yakuza hide-out as we see two bad-asses do what they do to earn the title of bad-asses and that, like the movie before this, ends up being the most enjoyable part of the movie, even if it ends up being the finale of the film. The villain here is an interesting guy, but I’m not sure they make a bad guy that ever seems like a real threat to our heroes here. If anything, that is the worst part of movies like this. Our good guys seems pretty unbeatable and we never once feel they are in any real danger. That aside, the movie still is as good as the original Ginza Butterfly. I don’t know if it ever actually becomes better overall, but having Sonny Chiba in the mix can only be a good thing regardless of what the movie is. If you liked the original, then you will like this one. You just might not end up liking it better. At least it isn’t a step back overall.
– New video interview with director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
– New video interview with Pinky Violence film expert J-Taro Sugisaku
– Original Japanese theatrical trailers for both films
– Reversible cover with original Japanese poster artwork