Sex Hunter: Wet Target
Director - Koyu Ohara
Cast - Junko Asahina, Yumi Hayakawa
Country of Origin - Japan
Discs - 1
Distributor - Synapse
Reviewer - Bobby Morgan
Date - 02/18/13
The Film: 3/5
Mimei (Junko Asahina) has arrived in Tokyo to spend a month staying with her old friend Rei (Yumi Hayakawa) and Rei's lesbian lover Matsumi (Mari Kishida) before her pre-arranged marriage is to take place. She is also nearing the end of her quest to sleep with a hundred men and collect inkblot prints of their penises in her last days as a single woman. Rei and Matsumi want to help Mimei accomplish her goal, but Rei is still trying to emotionally recover from the sexual brutalization at the hands of her former lover Kimura (Shin Nakamaru) that possibly drove her to become a lesbian. Mimei doesn't condone her relationship with Matsumi so she helps Rei plan and exact an appropriate revenge on Kimura that the bastard will never forget. However, the power that Rei felt while giving Kimura his just desserts compels her to seek out more unsuspecting males and give them a taste of what her sadistic ex-boyfriend felt. Feeling lonely, Matsumi develops an addiction to masturbation with a variety of battery-operated sex toys and condom-covered fresh produce. Mimei finds the perfect man to complete her collection of prints in handsome but aloof businessman Tadao; however, Tadao boasts that he is extremely difficult to win over thanks to his special sexual training, so he offers Mimei a challenge: if she can give him the orgasm to end them all he will allow her to take his print, so to speak. Needless to say, Mimei is going to have her work cut out for her this time.
A film's title can tell you a lot about what you are about to watch; sometimes it can tell you bloody well everything there is to know. In the case of I Love It From Behind!, I sat down to watch this latest in Impulse's seemingly never-ending re-release of the Nikkatsku studio's Roman Porno series of saucy and occasionally depraved erotica expecting a naughty yet innocuous romp through the backrooms and boudoirs of swinging Tokyo, but instead found myself watching a disturbing story about obsession and the loss of innocence that just happened to contain lots of sex - including some sex that is genuinely hot - and naked flesh belonging to both genders. This movie goes far beyond the quality of storytelling I've come to expect from the Nikkatsu movies thus far though I wouldn't classify it as a memorable viewing experience. It's just nice to see that there are a few diamonds in the rough this time. Being a Japanese movie about sex the ever-present pixilation and blurring reports for duty during several of the multiple sweaty rut-fests in I Love It, a pathetic censorship gimmick that disrupts and undermines the intentions of each scene, whether it be to unnerve or titillate, and comes off as massively hypocritical when nothing is censored during the uncomfortable moments of sexual violence. Perhaps that was the intention of the filmmakers, because after all why should those scenes contain any blurring whatsoever? Women are raped, beaten, and even murdered every damn day in many countries across the world, including the U.S., and politicians in several of those countries actively seek to change the laws regarding rape and violence against women for the worse in order to suit their own career and religious agendas and those of their greedy, right-wing constituents. It's just that in a movie that promotes itself as light-hearted naughty fun those harrowing scenes of sexual humiliation create a confusion in tone that makes I Love It hard to accept as entertainment. Imagine if the original Porky's contained a scene in the second act where a bound-and-gagged Kim Cattrall gets gang raped while she weeps and whimpers for mercy. From there on it would be difficult to laugh at the humorous moments, not that I have ever laughed at anything supposedly funny in one of the Porky's movies.
Koyu Ohara, an old hand at Nikkatsu who made their popular WIP series True Story of a Woman in Jail among other notable Japanese sexploiters, directs I Love It with a careful hand devoid of any distracting visual style, though the sex scenes are gorgeously lighted and edited with professional courtesy. The focus is maintained on the story, surprisingly, and the theme of obsession that runs through the intersecting narratives of Mimei, Rei, and Matsumi. While their addictions may be distinct (and in the cases of Rei and Matsumi, kind of sad), each one could barely stand up under clinical and critical scrutiny. Rei and Matsumi share a beautiful and loving relationship until Mimei throws a proverbial monkey wrench into their happiness by pressing Rei into getting revenge on Kimura for her sadomasochistic treatment at his hands so she can be free to abandon her life of lesbianism. Once Mimei meets Tadao Rei and Matsumi's storylines are tossed aside in favor of a marathon lovemaking session that yields some priceless visuals, most hilarious being a moment when the two enjoy a meal while still having sex, and an amusing final revelation. But by the time the movie ends Rei and Matsumi's stories are left unresolved, which lends the last minutes of I Love It a poignancy and tragedy that the main storyline lacked and pissed me off at the same time. But I've come to expect such severe narrative shortcomings from the Nikkatsu assembly line of celluloid smut. Who needs character development and emotional satisfaction these days? Look at them boobies!
You really have to hand it to Impulse; they have done a commendable job restoring each film of their acquisition from the Nikkatsu studios to the best possible quality within their limited budget. The transfers are hardly reference-standard when it comes to a/v presentations, but nor are they subpar cast-offs done with absolutely no consideration for the technical precision that went into the making of each movie.
I Love It From Behind! looks and sounds about as tip top as it likely will ever again on this DVD. The 2.35:1 widescreen transfer is very clean with moderate amounts of dirt and grain but not enough to cause noticeable print damage. The colors of the city and the retina-scarring 70's fashions (you will see a man wear pink pants and maintain his dignity) come through sharp for the most part. The Japanese 2.0 mono soundtrack is efficient yet unexceptional: the dialogue sounds muffled throughout but the funky porno music score by Hachiro Kai - a selection of which is used by Impulse in a montage of scenes from the various Nikkatsu movies that opens each DVD - comes out blasting like it should be wearing bell bottoms and sporting a Harry Reems mustache. English subtitles are thankfully included.
Japanese film scholar Jasper Sharp provides another insert booklet with detailed liner notes that provided me with more useful information for this review than I could find online. Other than that the only extra is a theatrical trailer in decent quality.
Thanks to I Love It From Behind! my love-hate relationship with Nikkatsu's Roman Porno line is now fully cemented. This is not a great movie per se but as far as a piece of Japanese sexploitation it outclasses most of the competition by taking on larger themes that it is sadly unequipped to handle in the end. A weird mash-up of the sexy and viciously unpleasant, and if that isn't true exploitation you can go back to watching Sex and the City now.