Reviewed by: STSH
Summary: Weird docu-drama
It's hard to tell what presenter/star Bruce Le really wanted to do with this film. Minor star vehicle ? War documentary ? Cheap exploitative nudie flick ? Important moral statement ? Propaganda ? Cashing in on a big story ?
Reviewer Score: 7
Comfort Women tried to cover all this and more. Such a task would be impossible even with a big budget, so of course it falls down in some areas. But not entirely. Sure, it has the limitations of a low budget, but makes quite a good fist of covering the history, and it does so without vilifying the Japanese as a whole. Naturally, given the scope, the story is very choppy and wanders all over the place.
As the end credits state, it was 1991 when the Japanese govt finally and publicly acknowledged that Comfort Women did in fact exist. It is clear that Bruce Le partly made this film as a result, perhaps to cash in, but his performance is quite sincere too.
There is no shortage of nudity, including full frontal. There is a very nice, if brief, mass shower scene early on. Unfortunately and incredibly, Lily Lee is not among the fully nude, although she was still doing it in other films at the time.
And beware, the cover art is misleading - the mean General Kawasaki does not whip and ride Lily in the film.
And, another exploitative/historical angle. They manage to mention 731, the notorious bacterial research unit. This is where Lily's character, her body rotting from the inside with syphilis, is eventually sent. These scenes are truly horrifying.
I can definitely say that this is an unusual film, one you're not likely to forget in a hurry.