All you can eat – Sushi Girl review

Sushi Girl

By Richard Haridy
June 18, 2013

Those who remember the spate of bland Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction rip-offs that dominated indie cinema throughout the mid to late 1990s will probably have little patience for Kern Saxton‘s Sushi Girl. It’s a strange genre mash-up that blends a post-Tarantino gangster film with a modern torture-porn aesthetic.

The movie begins promisingly enough, with the legendary Sonny Chiba playing a sushi chef who dresses the titular sushi girl (Cortney Palm) while Shirley Bassey’s ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ floods the soundtrack. You see, our sushi girl will act as a human dinner tray for gangster Duke (Tony Todd) as he invites his old crew back to celebrate the release of their old getaway driver, Fish (Noah Hathaway).

Sushi Girl

Nameless sushi girl is instructed to lay naked – covered in sushi, of course – and not react to anything that occurs in the room over the course of an increasingly violent evening. As the feature ticks off every convention of a post-Tarantino crime flick – crude gangster banter, non-linear storytelling, long pulpy monologues, three-way Mexican stand-offs – it also oddly moves into an extended torture sequence that isn’t especially inventive as much as it is simply unpleasant.

Saxton, again taking cues from Tarantino, peppers his film with old-school faces, from Michael Biehn to Jeff Fahey, and even Danny Trejo. Yet, the only truly successful casting decision is a nearly unrecognisable Mark Hamill as the effeminate Crow. Hamill is hilarious and hopefully this leads to more interesting work for him.

The whole ‘sushi girl’ premise is frustratingly pushed aside for 90 per cent of the running time as we suffer through a poorly written chamber piece with thinly drawn characters. By the time we get back to her story, it’s too little too late. Sushi Girl is intermittently stylish and relatively technically competent but so painfully derivative that it’s at times embarrassing to watch. Saxton really loves his Tarantino and if you do too you may marginally tolerate this violent, middle of the road, piece of fodder.

2/5

Sushi Girl is available on Quickflix from June 19, 2013.

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