I watched two films last night, but it's cheating to call them two films as they are both so short.
It's also cheating to call them two films because as well as being short they are pretty much the same film - in the same way that Evil Dead 2 is the same film as The Evil Dead, or Desperado is the same film as El Mariachi - but remade with more money and experience and scope and sense of humour.
I watched Hard Revenge Milly, and Hard Revenge Milly: Bloody Battle.
Bloody Battle functions as both a sequel and simultaneous remake of the first film. And it's a bit longer, clocking up 75 minutes (short) compared to the first film's 45 (really short). Decent chunks of the first film form the underpinnings of the opening titles for Bloody Battle and some lairy flashbacks during the course of events. The first film feels like a practice go, and the second feels more complete, with elements other than a streamlined course of brutal fight action.
So you could comfortably forgo watching the first film at all.
I didn't, though. I watched them both.
The title alone synopsises the films adequately. Milly is wronged, and takes her revenge. Hard.
Here's a little bit more irrelevant detail -
In post-apocalypse Yokohama City, in the lawless future of 20XX, the idyllic happiness of young wife and mother Milly is splattered all over the dust as the psychotic criminal Jack Brothers thrill kill her husband and baby, and chop poor Milly into mince. They do this quite unpleasantly, using guns and knives.
And setting the baby on fire before battering it against a wall.
And yet they do it quite inefficiently too, as Milly somehow survives to exact her revenge in gruesome cybernetic style as a result of the demented handiwork of a chainsmoking surgeon who cackles himself insensible when he thinks about what he does.
The first, shorter film, details Milly's initial revenge against the one Jack Brother who chopped up her happiness. The second pits her against two more Brothers, a gay one and a ponce - neither of whom were responsible for her initial family massacre but who now seek their own revenge for the murder of their brother.
Milly also gains a protťgť: a beautiful young woman who comes for Milly's bionic assistance in exacting revenge against the mysterious person who chopped up her boyfriend. So there is a very thick slice of revenge on offer right across the board in this second film. Revenge here, revenge there - all of it hard.
And there are bonus points available here if you can predict the startling and heart-breaking plot twist served up in the closing minutes of Bloody Battle.
That's enough brain stuff.
What both films do is show us masses of brutal and bloodthirsty fighting action. People duel with hands and knives and swords and guns and nunchuks and nunchuks with guns in and axes and a teddy bear. In the most spectacularly-choreographed giblet-spraying manner.
Heads are severed or exploded, eyes removed, arms and fingers cut off, innards outered, bodies bisected. All accompanied by truly Shogun Assassin levels of arterial gush. Every wound in the Milly milieu gives super-high-pressure blood spray up walls and across rooms and across the camera's lens.
There's a bloody new wave of crazy splatter coming from Japan now. Over the past couple of years we've seen half-decent efforts like The Machine Girl (hilariously brilliant) and Tokyo Gore Police (depressingly imaginative) as well as hopeful chancers like RoboGeisha and Chanbara Beauty. It's easy to include the Milly films in this category too, but we shouldn't really. Milly isn't about eye-popping grue and genre-topping levels of imaginative evisceration. Milly is more streamlined - a Japanese Death Wish for the cyber-aware.
The kills in Milly are the pay-off to the combat, rather than the reason for the combat. And the combat is very competently done too. Fight sequences are edited in long takes showing plenty of blows and blocks. Think The Matrix rather than The Transporter - you get a feel for the ability of the combatants rather than just an impressionistic suggestion of subliminal punches and flurried kicks resulting in a viewer headache and someone onscreen suddenly dead on the floor.
Milly feels more like martial arts films, but with bionic swords and kneecap shotguns.
They're also quite a lot of fun and due to their shortness they are very tightly paced. No fat on Milly.
No tits either, as it transpires when the extent of her bionic mutation is revealed.
I enjoyed watching the Hard Revenges.
I won't watch the first one again, nor would I recommend it, as Bloody Battle renders it totally superfluous.
So 5, and then 7. Quite good.