Thursday, January 12, 2006


New DVD label Diskotek makes an auspicious debut with its release of the 1974 Japanese cult classic, ZERO WOMAN: RED HANDCUFFS (a/k/a ZEROKA NO ONNA: AKAI WAPPA). Directed by Yukio Noda for Toei Studios more than thirty years ago, this manga-based tale of wanton sex and brutal violence still packs a punch today.

The lovely and frequently naked Miki Sugimoto plays Rei, a policewoman who is kicked off the force and tossed into prison after she brutally strangles and shoots a Diplomatic Immunity-protected rapist. But when a gang of super sleazy slimeballs kidnaps the daughter of a top politician, Rei is released and sent after them as an "unofficially" sanctioned vigilante – a "Zero Woman."

RED HANDCUFFS is an 88-minute orgy of relentless rape and bloodletting. Make no mistake about it, this is the hard stuff, and it can be rough going at times. Yet, the movie is compelling, stylishly shot and edited, and roars to its fiery climax like an out of control freight train. If you've got the stomach for it, it's an exploitation experience to remember. The "Zero Woman" concept was revived in the Nineties for a series of slick, sexy action flicks, but this is the original.

Diskotek's DVD presents the film in a gorgeous 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. There's some minor wear evident, but the colors are bright and stable, and there's no major print damage. Audio is provided in Dolby Digital Stereo, and both the original Japanese soundtrack and an English dub are provided. There are no real extras aside from an attractively designed cardboard slipcover and a four-page booklet with liner notes by Asian Cult Cinema magazine's Thomas Weisser.

For vintage Asian ultra-violence, ZERO WOMAN: RED HANDCUFFS can't be beat.

BUY: Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs