BLACK TIGHT KILLERS (1966). Review by Steve Kirkham



    4 stars. Radiance Films. Blu Ray. 26th February
    What’s not to love about a kitschy 60s Japanese movie about a group of scantily clad female ninjas! With six bikini topped young ladies, with bejewelled masks on, gyrating around behind the credits and the title BLACK TIGHT KILLERS you know you are in for a groovy outing.
    The film centres on Hondo (Akira Kobayashi), a war photographer in Vietnam. On the way back home from his latest assignment, he sets up a date with air stewardess Yoriko Sawanouchi (Chieko Matsubara). On their assignation she is perturbed by a strange man who seems to have followed them – Hondo goes to confront him and on returning to his table finds his date has disappeared.
    Searching, he hears her scream. Meanwhile the curious man is being attacked by three leather clad ladies – he is whipped, beaten and killed, which Hondo witnesses. They use ninja bubble gum bullets to prevent him seeing any more and run off into the night, whilst his new beau looks on. Also watching, unbeknownst to them, are two mysterious trench coated men who will figure later in the plot.
    Whilst he is contacting the cops, his girl is snatched by the assassin girls and he finds himself arrested for the death of the stranger and only released when his reporter friend vouches for him and pledges to help him find the girl. Who has kidnapped her and why? Who do these female killers work for? What is going on?
    This Blu ray from Radiance is a crisp and colourful rendition of a beautifully shot, dynamic and fun escapade that plays like one of those spy thrillers like the Matt Helm’s or IN LIKE FLINT. It is very sixties – and sometimes quite silly and makes no real attempt at realism. For instance, the scenes set in cars driving along make a virtue of the back projection used, bathing it in various colours to bring an appropriate artificiality to proceedings.
    The music emphasises the spy stylings and this is hugely enjoyable with it’s action, the vivacious go-go dancing squad of lady ninjas and the crazy weapons that are employed, including a ball that imbues invisibility, a can of laughing gas and at one point using 7 inch singles (remember those?) to be thrown at victims. Outrageous at times, this is eye-popping, with chromatic and bright pop art pizzazz.
    Steve Kirkham


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