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Mini Movie Reviews: Revenge

I've been watching more and more movies these days and would love to do full reviews for each and every one of them, but just don't have the time (often because there are more movies to watch). So I eventually decided to just do some scaled down reviews instead and group them together with a loose (sometimes very loose) theme connecting them all. Today's theme is the dish that is best served cold, as the old Klingon proverb goes, featuring films from Toshiya Fujita, Chor Yuen, Elliot Silverstein, Richard Fleischer, and John Woo.

Lady Snowblood (1973)
Toshiya Fujita's adaption of the manga by Kazuo Koike and Kazuo Kamimura, set during the early days of the Meji Restoration. Yuki (Meiko Kaji) was born in a prison and raised to be nothing more than an instrument to carry out her late mother's vendetta against the criminals who murdered her family. But as she crosses more and more names of her list, Yuki begins to wonder what her life will be like when there are finally no more people to kill. This is a dark, twisted, brutal and bloody tale that Quentin Tarantino took one look at and thought “I bet I could do that, but thrice as long and half as good.” He even went as far to reuse the film's theme song (sung by Kaji herself). Just try to not to laugh at how exceptionally fake the fake blood looks.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Cat Ballou (1965)
Jane Fonda is a school teacher who becomes an outlaw, teaming up with Lee Marvin's drunken gunslinger, to get revenge on her father's killers. Hard not to like a film that has Nat King Cole as part of its banjo playing Greek chorus, but it isn't exactly enough to make me love it either. Revenge tales have long been a hallmark of the Western genre. This is a more comedic take on the matter, but fails to really deliver on the laughs, only managing mild amassment at best. Not sure why Marvin won the Oscar for this. Sure, he's having a lot of fun hamming it up, but it isn't even really a brilliant bit of overacting. Fonda also feels a little lost as the title character and designated straight woman.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Last Hurrah of Chivalry (1979)
A twisty tale of revenge, brotherhood and honour set in ancient China. Betrayed on his wedding day and driven from his home, a young nobleman goes to extreme lengths to recruits a pair of fighters to kill the man who took everything from him. John Woo got his start making martial arts films in the 1970s. Last Hurrah of Chivalry was the last one he made, but it did so poorly at the box office that he got stuck making comedies for the next seven years until breaking back into action with A Better Tomorrow, the first of his heroic bloodshed films. In many ways, this is dry run for those films, just with swords instead of guns and a very short supply of doves.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (1972)
Young Ainu is kidnapped by slavers and sold to the ruthless brothel madam (and martial arts expert) Lady Chun, who quickly falls for Ainu and transforms her into a mirror image of herself. Ainu uses her new skills to take revenge upon those who have tormented her, including Lady Chun. Deftly avoiding cheap exploitation, this is a twisted homoerotic tale of bloody revenge and pretty dresses, but mostly bloody revenge.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Red Sonja (1985)
How do you make a Conan the Barbarian movie without the rights to Conan the Barbarian? Simple, you just use another character created by Robert E. Howard, relocate them to the Hyborian age, pretend that Marvel didn't already do that, recycle the basic plot of the John Milius movie, and trick Arnold Schwarzenegger into thinking he's filming a cameo, but is actually the co-lead. A stiff as stone Brigitte Nielsen plays Red Sonja, a villager girl who becomes a mighty warrior after her family are slaughtered by an evil queen she mutilated after rejecting her advances, as recounted by a random exposition spirit in the chopped up prologue because they wanted a 90 min runtime. She teams up with Arnold's Conan stand-in after said evil queen steals a mystical weapon of mass destruction which this movie has neither the imagination nor budget to show off. This is just a very bad movie, one of the low points of 80s fantasy films, and the only thing it really has going for it is the great score by Ennio Morricone.
Rating: ⭐⭐
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig


  1. An interesting group of movies you have here, Mark. The only one I've seen is Cat Ballou, and I've always liked it. "He did it! He missed the barn!"

    1. Billie, one aim I have with these reviews is to showcase less well known films along with famous ones many will have already scene.

    2. Don't know why my comments keep getting marked as anonymous.

    3. Maybe you weren't signed in? As a member of the site, your comments should always go right up.

  2. I enjoyed Red Sonja, even if the lead is indeed not the most engaging at her role. I did like that while Gedren was a villain and a tyrant, that she was attracted to Sonja and obviously had something there with her handmaiden, even if she didn't treat her so well.

    Not a great movie by any means, to be sure, but not the worst I've seen either.


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