Vile exploitation throwback lacking in wit, irony, and wisdom.

Hong Kong Filmart HAS Screenings

A reboot of Ito Shunya's 1972 Japanese women in prison film "Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion" (itself based on a manga by Toru Shinohara), "Sasori" is a twice-removed throwback to the grand 1970s tradition of exploitation cinema. Though cut from the same cloth as its inspiration, "Caged Heat" and "Black Mama, White Mama," the film lacks a context to work within, ultimately rendering it a nasty piece of B pulp.

There is limited boxoffice appeal for "Sasori," which is likely to get slapped with a Category III rating (Hong Kong's version of NC-17), but it could potentially appeal to genre festivals and see something of a life on DVD.

Nami (Mizuno Miki) is engaged to a cop, Hei Tai (Dylan Kuo). This is made evident with plenty of languid close-ups as they lounge around in a highly stylized bedroom awaiting a visit from his father and sister. Things go downhill when three thugs, led by Akagi (Bruce Leung), break into their home intent on killing the father. Don't ask why. Nami is given a gruesome choice: Kill the sister or Hei Tai dies.

Director Joe Ma is more widely known for his romantic comedies than for hard-core action, and it shows. When "Sasori" isn't disjointed and mean-spirited, it tries to be a tragic romance and, for the most part, fails.