JAILHOUSE 41 is the second of the FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION films and sees Meiko Kaji returning to the role of Matsu, a prisoner dominated and abused by both prison guards and her jealous, vengeful peers. I found this to be a superior film to the first, because the story is more action dominated and there's more backside-kicking from the empowered females rather than endless torture and humiliation.
There's a jailbreak at the film's outset and the rest of the narrative follows the plight of a bunch of women on the run. They encounter various sadistic men and usually end up getting the upper hand over them, while all the while the authorities close in behind them. The film boasts incredibly stylish direction with some really outlandish scenes - the psychedelic bit where they meet the weird old woman being a personal favourite moment. The violence comes thick and fast and is exceptionally gruesome in places, but the writer never loses track of the psychological of his characters, making this a film loaded with a gritty realism.
Matsu, known to the prisoners as Scorpion, is locked away in the bowels of the prison as revenge for disrupting the smooth operation of the prison and for her disfiguring attack on the warden. Granted a one day reprieve due to the visit of a dignitary, she takes advantage and attacks the warden again. This leads to more brutal punishment and humiliation. But the punishment gives her an opportunity to escape along with six other female prisoners. Their surreal flight from prison pits the convicts against the guards, the warden and each other.
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