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The bullets-and-breasts genre of Japan's straight-to-video exploitation industry may be an acquired taste, but there is plenty of guilty fun to be found in the energy, sleek images, and excess of even the worst of them. Wild Criminal is one of the best, a cleverly engineered revenge tale about two women at the bottom of the yakuza food chain who plot their own brand of payback. Sexy, compliant love slave Tomoyo is under the thumb of a violent mob boss searching for her old boyfriend, the double-crossing hood Udo (played by rakishly handsome bad-boy heartthrob Riki Takeuchi). Feral street chick Yuki is a bruised and abused small-time criminal who survives one of Udo's reckless schemes and meets up with Tomoyo at a gambling club. Director Hide (that's it, just Hide) doesn't go for the flashy snap or snazzy effects of so many Japanese thrillers, but he gives a handsome look and a strong sense of story and character to the twisting plot and the complicated backdrop of double-crosses and betrayals. Wild Criminal delivers all that's expected--bloody shootouts, sadistic thugs, and soft-core interludes--but ultimately sisterhood rules in this thoroughly satisfying piece of sadistic, sleazy gangster exploitation

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TSVS0110 Wild Criminal DVD (1999/Tokyo Shock) $29.95 $23.99