So let’s just get this out of the way…someone really likes Quentin Tarantino. A whole lot. In particular they really love Reservoir Dogs. From early on while watching Sushi Girl I could not help but compare it to Tarantino’s seminal masterpiece. And therein lies the problem; if your film so closely resembles a more popular one comparisons cannot be avoided. And believe me there is no comparison, Sushi Girl falls way short next to the film it most imitates.
Sushi Girl does feature an interesting cast (Hey–who else do we know that assembles interesting quirky casts…hmmm), which is what drew me to it in the first place. Tony Todd (Candyman, Hatchet) plays a prominent role here and fares best. Joining him in key roles are Noah Hathaway, James Duvall, Andy Mckenzie and MARK HAMILL–yes that Mark Hamill. We are also treated to a flood of cameos including Sonny Chiba, Michael Biehn (really a blink -and-you’ll miss it appearance), Jeff Fahey, and Danny Treo.
Sushi Girl is a crime/revenge tale centered on the character of Fish (Hathaway) on the day of his release from prison. Immediately after being set free he is whisked away to a reunion of his prior partners in crime, a team led by Todd’s character of Duke, and rounded out by the violent Max (Mackenzie), Francis (Duval), who is having second thoughts about his criminal lifestyle, and finally Hamill as Crow. I am not sure if it was my prior knowledge that Hamill voices the Joker in many animated Batman tales, but I could not help but think of his portrayal as a swishy version of Heath Ledger’s Joker from Dark Knight. As an effeminate psychopath, Hamill’s performance seemed over the top. Yet honestly I could not turn away from the sight of Luke Skywalker committing acts of torture in flamboyant style.
It seems that since Fish has been away, the diamonds from their heist have been missing. And with Fish now present, the others want to know where the loot is. So they hold a meeting over an elaborate sushi dinner. The Sushi is served on the body of a naked girl, who is instructed not to move a muscle throughout the whole evening under any circumstance. The sushi is arrayed with more benign flavors in the outer extremities of her body, with more daring pieces occurring as one moves inwards, the ultimate goal being the potentially poisonous blowfish pieces.
As the evening progresses, things turn rather unpleasant for Fish, and the film intercuts flashbacks to the actual day of the caper with the dinner scenes. The ultimate payoffs to the scenario are not entirely unpredictable, and you’ll see some of the twists coming a mile away. However there is some fun to be had along the ride with the quirky cast and some nasty violence. I’d say this one is worth a rental; but keep in mind there are way better films in this genre and closely imitating one of does not help Sushi Girl’s cause at all.