New Female Prisoner Scorpion: Special Cellblock X (1977)

In the first of the remade Scorpion movies, Nami was framed for her involvement in the murder of a politician who was threatening to expose corrupt practices. She escaped from jail to get revenge on those who set her up, including her lover, but was captured at the end. Now, she’s been sent back to prison. The rest of the inmates have been punished for her escape, making her life even rougher. And now, a tougher warden is on the way to make sure she never gets out. Scorpion!

Yu Kohira returns to direct this film, but now we have the third actress to portray Nami Matsushima, Yoko Natsuki.

In this installment, one of the guards just wants peace in the jail, so he’s willing to give the women the cigarettes and chocolate that they need to remain calm. Trust me — this technique never fails to keep my wife happy. However, the new warden just wants to be tough and make life hell for everyone.

The guard tries to expose the abuses of the new warden and ends up chained to Scorpion as they escape into the mountains. So we go from a women in prison movie to a chase film, so at least this one doesn’t follow all the steps of the previous films. Sure, it still feels like we’ve seen this all before — because we have — as this is literally a reboot of the series again!

I did enjoy the kabuki aspects of the film, though. It’s just hard to go from watching the Meiko Kaji films to this, as there’s not much of the style and swagger. However, the scene where the warden tries to quell a riot by shooting his gun into the air, only for a woman to tell him to go have sex with himself, was totally awesome.

Once the escape into the mountains happens, Scorpion finally becomes herself. I love how she continually subverts the male gaze of the guard, willing to kill him and drag his corpse instead of letting him touch her. He asks her if she’s even a woman, but she has no reply.

As the final assassin comes upon them, however, she’s won him over with her toughness and resolve. He sacrifices himself, dashed on the rocks so that she can be free to have her revenge.

The film closes with Scorpion dressed in her trademark black hat, stalking the urban environments of Japan, on her way to get her final bloody payback.

This isn’t the best of the Scorpion movies, but I get that people just want more of them. Maybe they should just watch the first three over and over again like I do.

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