Stylish Taiwan Revenge

Hailing from Taiwan, Kill Butterfly Kill is a female revenge thriller made in the mold of I Spit On Your Grave with gritty Hong Kong-style action spicing things up. The memorable 1983 cult film from director Yu-Lung Hsu offers interesting set pieces and a couple unforgettable visuals. It’s known by the title “Underground Wife” in its native country.

Star Juliet Chan is the woman wronged in this violent and often potent exploitation vehicle. While the narrative occasionally sends mixed messages, the striking tale has a solid premise and engaging characters. Infamous ‘80s schlock masters IFD Films twisted Yu-Lung Hsu’s stylishly dark film several years later by turning it into the hilariously awful American Commando 6: Kill Butterfly Kill by inserting new footage. New label Neon Eagle Video gives you both versions in a generous special edition.

Kill Butterfly Kill is a female revenge thriller made in the mold of I Spit On Your Grave

A young woman (Juliet Chan) survives a brutal, vicious assault from five men. Aided by a sympathetic hitman named Richard (“Tattooer Ma” Sha), years later she hunts down each man responsible in violent retribution. Stylishly killing her prey, Kill Butterfly Kill climaxes in a long and drawn-out battle with a man she’s been working with in this methodical process.

Kill Butterfly Kill apparently is a first-rate example from a genre known as a “Black Movie,” thriving at the edges of Taiwan’s burgeoning cinema industry during the early 1980s. Competently made on the cheap, the grindhouse movie has a slightly different feel compared to the films coming from Hong Kong in the same time-frame. Interestingly enough, the Americanized release of Kill Butterfly Kill tweaks the flashback structure with several smart edits over the more straightforward Taiwanese version.

Edgy exploitation thrillers like Kill Butterfly Kill aren’t necessarily for everyone but they certainly scratch an itch for wanton violence and an unchecked attitude. The somewhat scattered character building undercuts any potential message but its sheer thrills and suspense hit hard.

Video

Neon Eagle Video goes to the best surviving elements from IFD’s vaults for Kill Butterfly Kill and American Commando 6, striking 4K film transfers in each case. Each version gets its own BD-50, encoded in smooth AVC. The 2.40:1 video has a little damage in select scenes, possibly from vinegar syndrome-related wear. American Commando 6’s inserted footage from IFD regulars Mike Abbot and Mark Miller has more obvious clarity and definition than the original Taiwanese footage. The contrast and brightness levels differ between the two sets of footage.

Kill Butterfly Kill has fairly nice clarity though bouts of softness and muddy lighting intrude in darker scenes. For making its Blu-ray debut, these are healthy results for exploitation fare. The film scan and subsequent color correction are authentic, faithful reproductions of the camera negative with solid grain texture. Detail is fine for 1080p video, if lacking the razor-sharp definition of American movies from the same era.

Audio

2.0 DTS-HD MA mono soundtracks in English are included for both Kill Butterfly Kill and American Commando 6. The poor English dub for American Commando 6 is part of that bad movie’s trashy charm. These are serviceable audio recordings with mild harshness, some sibilance and flutter can be heard in Kill Butterfly Kill. The limited soundstage becomes more uneven when action is happening and the Foley work plays a larger role in the sound design.

Both Kill Butterfly Kill and American Commando 6 feature optional English SDH subtitles in white which can range outside the scope presentation. English subtitles are burnt into the video for Underground Wife.

Extras

New cult label Neon Eagle Video goes beyond the call of duty for the relatively obscure Kill Butterfly Kill. You get two Blu-rays, one featuring the original IFD edit and a second disc featuring the bastardized American Commando 6 version. Both discs are marked for all regions. A limited edition originally included a slipcover but that is increasingly hard to find now. You’ll have to settle for this standard edition unless you check the website for Cauldron Films.

Kill Butterfly Kill Bonus Features:

Audio commentary by Kenneth Brorsson and Paul Fox of the Podcast on Fire Network

“Underground Wife” Cut (85:42 in 4:3 SD; Mandarin 2.0 Dolby digital mono with forced English subtitles) – Sourced from VHS-quality videotape, there are some small wrinkles in how the movie has been cut and structured compared to the main feature.

Kill Butterfly Kill trailer (02:35 in HD)

Image Gallery (03:12 in HD)

American Commando 6 Bonus Features:

American Commando 6 Trailer (02:14 in SD)

IFD Trailer Compilation (31:28 in SD) – Bonus trailers included for American Commando 2 through 9 and more.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

Kill Butterfly Kill
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Gritty, mostly satisfying underground revenge thriller from Taiwan sees a woman go after her rapists

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 44 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots ripped directly from the Blu-ray:


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