Pistol Opera

Pistol Opera is a sort of quasi sequel quasi remake of Branded to Kill. Whilst that film lost director Siejun Suzuki his job at the studio where he was busy churning out b movies for being too off the wall, Pistol Opera was made a good deal of time later, when the classic status of the first film had time to become recognized. The formula, if these films could ever be said to be formulaic, is much the same here, its a hit man heavy hierarchy of killers. Our hero Miyuki is vaguely helped out by the lead from the first film (who shows up as a sort of mentor figure) as she works her way from number three in the mysterious assassins guild to number one. We get to meet more of the other assassins than in Branded to Kill, and they have much more clearly defined styles – one of them kills people in such a way that they always leave a smiling corpse. Suzuki is basically re-doing something here that was innovative and forward thinking fifty or so years ago, that he manages to pull it off without making it a pastiche of his own work is impressive. It is good fun, but basically you could go back and read my review of Branded to Kill and just replace the title.

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