Hard Revenge Milly Vol 1&2: Bloody Battle Review

The Film

Milly wants blood. In fact Milly wants her enemies disembowelled, sliced into little cubes, and then blow-torched. She's a bit miffed alright. And to be honest, she has a right to be miffed with what low-life Yakuza did to her and her family. Milly wants blood and, by God, she'll get it.

Milly's vengeance is visited here in two instalments. Firstly, she gets the men and woman who destroyed her life and decimated her Christmas card list. Their sins against her are vividly displayed in flashback and her endless rage validated as a response to the miscreants' gory excess. We then get lots of gushing blood, disembodied limbs, and gut churning evisceration. Part two arrives as an extension with Milly helping another wronged woman to overcome her wrongdoers, complete with much better photography, acting and effects giving the action a much more polished look. Part one is grisly, lo-fi and pretty narrativeless, and part two aspires to more depth, style, and drama.
The first part is hampered by its low budget with some cheap looking effects but it is stylish enough and tough enough to work rather well. There's a well judged reveal of Milly's backstory, some pleasing use of symbolism and a sense of genre which exceeds the limited surroundings. It's fair enough to say that it borrows the shock and awe of Ryuhei Kitamura's Versus whilst exceeding that film by being humane and keeping the semi-mechanical Milly sympathetic.

The second part is even better. A bigger budget, better photography and a much more complex moral universe are the key improvements. As a result narrative is much stronger by being less consumed with the structure of going from fight to fight like in part one, and having a longer running time allows more space for incidental characters and character explanation. It's still a kickass kind of cyborg versus Yakuza revenge fantasy, though it has more elegance and maturity than its older brother.
Both films together suggest that writer director Tsujimoto can step up to bigger projects with his love of genre and a burgeoning style which owes as much to spaghetti westerns as to early Tsukamoto. Milly Revenge Bloody Battle volumes one and two are two barrels of fully loaded fun.

Technical Specs

Both films are included on one dual layer region two locked disc and both are presented with black lines at the side of the 16:9 frame making the 1.78:1 aspect ratio a little closer to 1.72:1. The first film was shot much more cheaply and the video quality is understandably limited because of that with a softness and faded appearance and uncertain contrast. There are compression artefacts in both transfers and they both seem to be incorrectly converted between NTSC and PAL. The second transfer benefits from better materials but some of the murkiness and combing is also present here too.
The films each get a stereo track with removable English subs and the better production on the second film again marks a distinctly better quality with effects and dialogue more convincingly mixed and far, far clearer. The first film's audio is rather dull and a little muddy and just about functional.

Special features

Cine-Asia package both films up with tons of trailers and TV Spots, and two rather good Making Of pieces. The first Making of is actually longer than the film, but it shows a lot of the stunts and effects being created on set and features extensive conversation with the director explaining his concept and expressing his pleasure at the final product. The second documentary is much shorter than the actual film and more of a PR piece with soundbites from the cast, footage of training and much less from the fitter, happier looking Tsujimoto.

Finally trailers for nearly all of Cine-Asia's current releases are included including the forthcoming Robo-Geisha.

Summary

The two Milly films are great fun and any fan of Japanese splatter or girls and revenge films will lap them up. This disc is a little limited but awfully tempting at the price.

Film
7 out of 10
Video
5 out of 10
Audio
5 out of 10
Extras
6 out of 10
Overall

6

out of 10

Last updated: 18/04/2018 16:42:30

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