Sushi Girl was a pleasant surprise. I had attended a viewing with the assumption that this would be a movie filled with snuff-film horror violence, but what was presented to the audience was an engaging story that was part detective story, comedy, action,drama, and thriller, with a dab of love story woven into the mix. As the film opens, we are introduced to Fish (Noah Hathaway) who has spent six years in prison due to a robbery that went horribly wrong. But Fish is no snitch. He kept his mouth shut did his time like a man. Now, freed from his imprisonment, Fish is invited to a Sushi restaurant, where those involved with the robbery have reunited including Crow, Francis and Duke (Tony Todd). The five men sit around a table with a naked body of a beautiful woman covered in a lavish meal of various Sushi and it becomes clear that after six years there are still scores to settle and the location as to the heist diamonds remains a dangerous lurking question.
The sushi girl seems catatonic, trained to ignore everything in the room, even if things become dangerous. Sure enough, the four unwieldy thieves can’t help but open old wounds in an attempt to find their missing loot. The film keeps a strong pace throughout, and though you’re sure you know what’s coming, you can’t wait for it’s triumphant arrival. Sometimes filmmakers get a little carried away with this type of film. Sushi Girl does not fall victim to that, the makers knew their vision and brought it to life perfectly. Danny Trejo, Michael Biehn, and Jeff Fahey share a brief cameo scene that plays out like a Rodriguez Grindhouse reunion, although Fahey and Biehn are sadly underutilized in this movie. Sonny Chiba also makes a brief appearance.
As for its technical merits, it was pure, unadulterated and without compromise. There was no fat on the bone. All red meat. Every shot presented in the picture had purpose and I could find no flaw. Couldn’t tell you the last time I watched the same movie more than once in a day. If you liked “Reservoir Dogs”, you will love “Sushi Girl”. It wasn’t a movie created to rake in Oscars. It was made to entertain. IT actually all takes place at Tony Todd’s Japanese Restaurant, so expect a lot of Tarantino style dialog. Throw in a couple of nail biting torture scenes and Mexican Style stand Off ending and you have the movie that Tarantino easily could have directed.
It’s off the beaten track and is a nice mix of grisly black humor, unpleasant violence and dark mystery. A bit too contrived and theatrical, maybe, and perhaps a little too eager to be seen as a future cult item by design rather than default, yet certainly worth a look if a sub-Tarantino fix is what you’re in the fish market for. The script should have been more polished with more engaging dialogue and situations. The editing was at times to frenetic, giving talking scenes an unnecessarily jumpy quality more reserved for action sequences. STILL….it is worth the price of admission, the rental fee or the bandwidth on your download.