Beautiful Weapon (XX: utsukushiki kyoki)

Director: Kazuo Komizu
Year: 1994
Running Time: 93 minutes

In the pitch black darkness moans fill the space with a sexual urgency until two brief flashes signal the completion not only of the act itself but also of someone’s life. A beautiful woman with long black hair and bright red seductive lips makes her way to the couch in her living room and pours herself a drink and cuddles up to her doll. She (Masumi Miyazaki) is an assassin for the Yakuza – but a very specialized one – all her hits are done in her bedroom (no commuting to work!) after she has sex with the man and he is at his most defenseless – two small shots to the head. Afterwards, a cleaner comes in and takes the body away – no fuss, no muss. Even with all these great benefits, her work is driving her to drink and self-pity, but she feels like she deserves this “dirty work” for things unexplained done in the past. She is also blind.

Of course in Japanese film blindness is no obstacle when it comes to killing people and they have a great tradition of being an equal opportunity employer when it comes to the handicapped – Zatoichi, Crimson Bat and the Whipmaster (in the Wicked Priest series) were all blind and all very deadly. In fact blindness seems to actually be an advantage in the killing game as you are forced to enhance all your other senses. The Whipmaster can smell blood and Zatoichi can hear an ant crawl. This woman (whose name we never learn) isn’t quite at that level yet – but she can smell the sexual desire in the men who are brought to her for their final feeding frenzy.
Kenji (Masao Kosakari) is a piano player in a bar with a sideline as a hitman for the mob – but he is no longer a star – his drinking and his attitude have made him undependable in the eyes of Masahiko (Kunio Murai) who assigns killings to his stable of talent (including the woman). How could you trust anyone who can play “I’m in a Sentimental Mood” to carry out a hit? So Masahiko has turned over most of the work to a young stud and Kenji wants to find out who he is. So one night he follows Masahiko who picks up this new assassin and takes him out to the woman’s house with instructions to kill her – but not until after having had sex with her and Kenji sees the whole thing unfold as the young killer becomes one more notch on her bedpost. Apparently he was getting too cocky. Afterwards he watches her and falls in love “with a woman who cried herself to sleep”. A few days later, Masahiko comes to Kenji with an assignment – there is this woman who needs killing – but not until after you have slept with her. Kenji goes along. After all he is in love with this woman and though some might have performance anxiety knowing that at the end of the ecstasy you may likely be killed – but not Kenji who is a fairly cool guy with slicked back hair and Pierce Brosnan looks. He also winces a lot when he downs slugs of whisky which shows that he is tough but tender.
For what I assume was a straight to video production, this is a solid piece of work with an interesting story, decent acting and some nice camera work and editing. There is not a lot of action though – in fact practically none – one might assume the budget would not allow it. Other budget limitations are indicated by the fact that most of the film takes place inside three different locations – the woman’s house, the bar and the house of the big boss. It is really more of a drama and a mildly perverse love story with a few flashes of gunshots mixed in with a sizable amount of nudity – all seemingly very directed towards a male audience in tune with their feelings! A few other films that Masumi appears in are "Be-Bop High School", "Yumeji" directed by Seijun Suzuki (which played at Cannes) as well as appearing in some J-Dorama’s like "Stewardess’s Sweetheart" and "Hotel Story". Primarily though if you put her name in the Google search engine, you will get a long list of sites with the word “nude” in it! Director Kazuo Komizu had his share of extreme cult hits before this - "Entrails of a Virgin", "Entrails of a Beautiful Woman" and "Living Dead in Tokyo Bay" so in comparsion this is pretty mild stuff.

My rating for this film: 6.0