“Explanations? They’re vastly over-rated.”
This doesn’t so much hit the ground running, as plummet into it at top speed, to such an extent I genuinely stopped the film, to check if this was perhaps part two of an ongoing series. It isn’t: it’s just that unconcerned about explanations. What seems to be going on, is a universe where the different dimensions are now connected. Hence, there’s Retro World, Fairy World, Lost World, etc. This offers new criminal possibilities; to counter these, a trans-dimensional police force is also created. One such officer is Ai (Nagasawa), but her mission, to protect a psychic (Takayama) against the terrorist group Doubt is thrown into… Well, doubt after she meets her former partner Yui (Kinoshita), who appears to have thrown her lot in on the side of the villains.
At least, I think some of the above is probably fairly accurate. I am not prepared to commit any more strongly than that. Easily the best thing this has to offer are the actual fight: Sakamoto did a lot of work on Power Rangers, and also the cult classic Mark Dacascos vehicle, featuring a young Britney Murphy, and the style here is fast and frenetic, with people being punched hard enough to fly into things. A lot. Credit both lead actresses for doing a good chunk of this themselves. Less successful, are just about all the other elements, led by the confusing plot, that appears to think whizzy SFX will remove any need for coherence. Admittedly, it’s not helped by subs, even the official DVD English ones, which are borderline illiterate, and on at least one occasion appear to contradict directly the on-screen action.
I was also more than a little uncomfortable with the apparently leering approach taken to the heroines. Chris, breezing through the living room, airily dismissed it with a roll of her eyes as “Oriental women in shorts,” (see the cover on the right for a good example). While part of me wanted to argue the point, the cheesecake quotient here was just too high for any credible defense: I mean, do you really need skimpy clothes for inter-dimensional travel? The final battle is kinda decent, but I’ll confess, my brain had largely given up on the entire exercise by that point, my attention only being somewhat regained whenever things e.g. fists or actresses started to fly. Sakamoto’s credentials as a fight choreographer are fine, just not in the director’s chair.
Dir: Koichi Sakamoto
Star: Nao Nagasawa, Ayumi Kinoshita, Yuko Takayama, Kenji Ebisawa