Iron Girl

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“The Somewhat-magnificent One”

Iron-Girl-2012-Movie-PosterThe introduction tries to make it seem as if this could take place at any point in history, but there’s not much effort put into maintaining the illusion. The guns and overall setting – best described as “distressed warehouse” – puts this firmly into the post-apocalypse genre, though it’s very much at the bargain basement end of the spectrum. The heroine (adult actress Asuka) stumbles across naively innocent Anne (Akiyama), being pawed by some bad guys after straying into the danger zone to pick flowers; clearly a kinder, gentler apocalypse. After punching them out, assisted by remarkable reactions and her metal exo-skeleton, Anne is escorted back to her warehouse village, where we discover they are frequently raided by the Crazy Dogs gang.

They are under the imaginatively-named Crazy Joe (Koga), who looks a cosplay version of Captain Jack Sparrow, down to the headsquare and mascara. The village elder pulls out a parchment and pronounces “Iron Girl” to be the saviour of prophecy, even though she has no memories of her life, or even her name.  The Crazy Dogs are less convinced, though come around after a fat minion and his low-level sidekicks are dispatched, and Anne’s brother, who has been re-programmed to forget his original identity, has his brainwashing undone. Joe and his sadistic girlfriend decide to pop over for a visit, to find out what all the fuss is about. Turns out, he and Iron Girl have more than a little in common…

I suppose, for what this is, it’s okay. However, what it is, isn’t much to begin with. There’s never any feeling of a convincing setting, the characters are paint-by-numbers, and the action is neither realistic enough to have any impact, nor stylized and excessive enough to be entertaining. Nagamine seems to know only one approach: slow down the action, to give the impression that Iron Girl is moving much faster than she actually is. It’s not very effective, and it’s also incredibly overused. The low-budget roots are also apparent, in an excess of static, talky scenes where people are just sitting around and talking. However, it’s not all bad. Asuka does a decent job as the stoic gunslinger without a past, and despite my snark above, I actually enjoyed Koga’s scenery chewing, which is entirely appropriate for the villain in this sort of thing.

Undemanding fans of SF will probably find this an adequate time-passer, and I likely fall into that category myself: it has just about enough action to sustain interest, especially in the second half. However, anyone going off the title, and expecting something even vaguely along the lines of a certain Marvel superhero film, is going to be horribly disappointed. So it’s probably about managing your expectations. The lower those are, the more likely this is to reach them.

Dir: Masatoshi Nagamine
Star: Kirara Asuka, Rina Akiyama, Mitsuki Koga, Yasuhisa Furuhara

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