Hard Revenge, Milly: Bloody Battle (Hado Ribenji, Miri: Buraddi Batoru)
Director/Screenplay – Takanori Tsujimoto, Producers – Yoichi Kobayashi & Jun Kubo, Photography – Hajime Ishida & Takanori Tsujimoto, Music – Hikaru Yoshida, Makeup Effects – Yoshihiro Nishimura. Production Company – Ace Deuce Entertainment/Deiz Production
Miki Mizuno (Milly), Nao Nagasawa (Haru), Kazuki Tsujimoto (Ikki), Mitsuki Koga (Doctor), Rei Fujita (Hyuma)
Haru goes to find Milly, asking her help in taking revenge against the people that murdered her lover but Milly replies that she does not kill for hire. They are then attacked by the gang that are after Haru. Milly defends them in a fight and then drags Haru to have her wounds tended. Milly’s mechanical attachments were damaged during the fight and are replaced with new ones. She decides to train Haru so that she can take her own revenge, only to be thrust into the fray when Haru is abducted by the gang.
Hard Revenge, Milly (2008) was a solo directorial debut for Takanori Tsujimoto. It was a ferociously entertaining near future story with a cyborg-enhanced Miki Mizuno going into action to eliminate the gang who killed her husband and child. Tsujimoto employed the style of the gonzo Japanese splatter film and the film was awash with entertainingly over-the-top action moves and massive gushes of arterial spray. Hailing in at only 44 minutes, it was an awkward commercial length but attained enough plaudits that Tsujimoto was given a bigger budget to make a feature-length follow-up with Hard Revenge, Milly: Bloody Battle here.
As opposed to a reworking of the original, Hard Revenge, Milly: Bloody Battle is a sequel. The storyline follows directly on in continuity from the first film and references events – we even get a cameo appearance from the teddy bear. Miki Mizuno is back as Milly, while Mitsuki Koga who played the gang leader that Milly was seeking revenge against in the first film is back in a different role as the eccentric doctor who maintains her attachments. The plot only retreads the same ground with minor differences. That said, the longer running time only serves to give us more of the same rather than a more detailed glimpse of the world – most of the plot has been streamlined towards the action scenes while little is done to explore the background of the future or anything beyond that.
As before, the entertainment of the film all comes in the over-the-top action moves and splatter effects – one goon is beaten with a nightstick and has his teeth knocked out and his jaw whacked completely off; a body is kicked through; fingers are chopped off and arms severed; and when people are stabbed it always results in a massive jet of high-pressure arterial blood. Tsujimoto’s action scenes are highly charged and have an enormous energy that blow much better budgeted Hollywood contemporaries out of the water. Plus there is much more of the internalised character and mood that the first film had, which makes the Hard Revenge, Milly films far more noirish than the other gonzo Japanese splatter films.
On the other hand, despite a bigger budget than its predecessor, Bloody Battle emerges slightly the lesser than Hard Revenge, Milly. The film never has anything that hits you as charged as the ten-minute battle between Miki Mizuno and Mistuka Koga that climaxed the first film. There is a similar showdown between her and Kazuki Tsujimoto, which culminates on the rather entertaining image of her blowing him away with her new cyborg attachment – an arm that fires a spring-loaded punch across the room. On the minus side, this never hits the height of the first film’s climactic image of her producing mechanical scythe blade arms out of her chest. One would have though the bigger budget might have at least meant a literalisation of these scythes but they are ripped out early in the show and she gets far less entertaining replacements. One plus is the new villain, the mad gay gang leader played by Kazuki Tsujimoto who, in one of the film’s more outrageous moments, is seen fucking the corpse of a guard he has just killed.