Wolf Guy: Enraged Lycanthrope

3 out of 5

Directed by: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi 

I think this is a sequel-ish to “Horror of the Wolf,” (Ōkami no Monshō), in that it stems from the same source material – manga Wolf Guy – or maybe there’s an assumption that we’ve read that source material, …or maybe the creators were just assuming that we’d get the gist of reporter Akira Inugami (“Sonny” Chiba) being a werewolf based on the title. Whatever the case, there is otherwise no introduction to this, save Inugami looking up a crescent moon and then healing from a gunshot. Later, we get some flashbacks to his werewolf “clan,” the slaughter of which eventually leads to some present-day chase sequences, but this is not exposition to explain his lycanthropism, rather just justification for more running around and naked chicks who instantly fall in love with Wolf Guy. Slightly more explained is the presence of Miki, a woman who’s been abused into a life of addiction, and now has the power to send out a curse in the form of a tiger spirit to slaughter people, leading to some pretty good visual gags where rips and rends appear automatically on bodies, with lots of bright red blood a’spurting. Bear in mind we’re in low budget territory, so no actual werewolf or in-camera tiger appears – Inugami can jump and fight and recovers quickly; Miki’s powers are summoned by an overlaid image of her spirit creature, generally atop a frozen image.

As directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, Wolf Guy: Enraged Lycanthrope is coke-addled jazz, the camera wildly swooping throughout – there’s hardly a straight angle throughout the flick – and funky, improv horns blaring on the soundtrack. Both of which – swooping and sounds – might drop in flash for brief, “serious” scene, before Chiba’s face is smothered by a new pair of boobs, or maybe some baddies surround him, in need of flips and kicks. Fumio Kônami’s screenplay has a similar kind of bebop flow to it, loosely knitting us through an explanation of Miki’s curse, and then the introduction of government agents trying to take advantage of either Wolf Guy’s or Miki’s powers, and then the inevitable showdown between the two, but it just as often forgets there’s a plot, subjected to Yamaguchi going nuts with the camera work, and lingering on yet another naked body. Chiba, heavily-browed and hair asunder, is very watchable here, very austere and delivering his lines with authority, and the movie “professionally” blends its trashy B-movie cheese and violence. It’s a brisk, silly 90 minutes, occasionally shaping up into an interestingly weird movie, but just as often willfully distracted by genre indulgences.