Written by: Fanboy Comics
Fanboy Comics‘ Barbra Dillon reviews the genre-bending indie thriller.
In what may be the most intense and violent thriller to be released this year, Sushi Girl is a film that will leave its mark with moviegoers as the pinnacle of modern exploitation films. Independently produced by Assembly Line in association with Level Up Productions, the film’s creators masterfully packaged an extremely talented cast and crew with a twisted and gut-wrenching script that will stand up next to any big studio production. Supplemented by an already growing fanbase as confirmed by a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign to premiere the film at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Sushi Girl is a shining example of how good, old-fashioned creativity, hard work, and dedication can develop into a solid motion picture.
“Revenge is a dish that is best served raw.” This is the tagline of the visceral film that dives full force into violence and action. Audiences should anticipate that Sushi Girl is not for the faint of heart. The film centers around Fish, a recent parolee who served six years in state prison after a diamond heist that went very wrong. After serving his time without divulging the names of his four partners in crime, Fish is treated to a celebratory dinner on the night of his release, surrounded by his former partners. The dinner, a lavish meal of sushi plated on a beautiful young woman, gives way to an evening of suspicion, intrigue, and loads of violence, as the story of the heist unfolds in an attempt to locate the missing loot.
The story of the film is a clever one that had me on the edge of my seat throughout, showcasing the filmmakers’ love of both solid storytelling and Grindhouse-style excitement. Sushi Girl deftly examines the relationships of its characters (the former partners in crime) while also delivering a dangerous and action-packed thrill ride. From the very start, I could not help but compare the style, pace, and even the soundtrack of the film to Quentin Tarantino’s body of work, which – in itself – is an homage to the Grindhouse genre. Like Tarantino’s films of late, though, especially those that have involved frequent collaborator Eli Roth, the violence in the film is, at times, taken to extremes and may be difficult to watch even for the most desensitized viewer; however, audiences would benefit from understanding that the violence is essential to the plot and the development of the characters.
Boasting an all-star cast including Tony Todd (Candyman), James Duval (Donnie Darko), Noah Hathaway (The Neverending Story), Andy Mackenzie (MacGruber), and Mark Hamill (Star Wars), all of the performances were absolutely superb, with Hamill creating an unexpected and tremendously nuanced character that truly stood out from the rest of the talented pack. The fact that the independent film was successful in collecting this fantastic group of actors was only made more phenomenal by the array of star-studded cameos throughout the film, including Michael Biehn (Aliens, Grindhouse), Danny Trejo (Machete), Jeff Fahey (Grindhouse), and Sonny Chiba (Kill Bill Vol. 1). Above all else, I would be remiss if I did not note the performance of newcomer Cortney Palm (Superbad). Despite the fact that Palm plays the film’s titular character, the only thing that I can say (without giving too much away) is that the actress is certainly one to watch, as her performance is stellar.
While it may be minor, the only criticism that I have of the film is with regard to the sound. The dialogue of the film was, at times, difficult to understand, whether it was due to the volume of the music laid underneath or the quality of the sound system. Given the phenomenal writing of the screenwriters Kern Saxton and Destin Pfaff and the importance of the dialogue to the development of the twisting plot, it would be a shame for audiences to miss even a word of the actors’ lines.
Sushi Girl premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Tuesday, November 27, and it is now available on VOD. The film will also have a limited release in theatres starting on January 4, 2013. For more information on the film, be sure to visit Sushi Girl on Facebook, Twitter, and the official website.
Barbra Dillon is Managing Editor of Fanboy Comics, an online conglomerate of geek media, providing its readers with daily reviews, interviews, and podcasts that span the pop culture spectrum. For more interviews, blogs, and reviews by Barbra and the FBC staff, check out the Fanboy Comics website at www.fanboycomics.net.