The Demon Spies

Year: 1974
Takashi Tsuboshima
Rating: 6.0/10

It is Japan in the mid-1970s and the graphic violence, nudity and sexual content in films has jumped like a ninja over a wall from just a few years previously. This is what had to be done to get folks out of the house and away from the TV set into theaters. This film has plenty of those with enough blood spurting to fill the Tivoli Fountain. Nudity and sex follows obediently behind. This is based on a Manga written by Kazuo Koike, who has some pretty good credentials having also written the Manga's for Lone Wolf and Cub, Lady Snowblood and Crying Freeman. The film version of this one doesn't rise to the classic status of Lone Wolf and Lady Snowblood.

Back in the good old days when the Shogun was running the country, a group are in training to become Demon Spies (Oniwaban) where they learn the art of attack, escape and espionage. Within espionage is the sub-category of using sex. They have been in training for ten years and in all that time they have to wear a demon mask - you lose your mask; you lose your life - eating could not have been easy or washing your face - or kissing - but that is the life of a Demon Spy! Among the five who are still alive after this training is four men and one woman and forming a train to have sex with the single woman is one of the training exercises. The final graduation test is to kill your teachers in combat. Which might seem a little wasteful of resources.

The strange thing is the Demons are the good guys! They are an undercover national service to the Shogun to keep the peace and root out any forms of rebellion and stop it. Their first mission is to infiltrate the province of Kishu where the leader has been secretly buying rifles - and to destroy the armory. In order to do this they have go through hell. And a lot of killing. The main negative issue with this is that the viewer never gets to know the five Demons (their faces are revealed) individually and so they are basically a well-trained killing machine with no personality. So when things go bad for some of them, you don't really care all that much. But the exploitation elements and the action keep you going.