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Like James Bond, there always seems to be another Zero Woman
Review by Matthew Anderson
Live action movie series
Company: Tokyo Shock
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rated: NC-17 for action, violence, sexual situations, rape, and nudity
THE FOLLOWING REVIEW IS ONE OF AN ADULT NATURE. PARENTAL DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
Section Zero is the police's best kept secret. Very few know who they are or what they do. Their operatives are equally mysterious, and are only identified by the name Rei.
Rei has been ordered to take some stock certificates from a gangster. When street punks take them from her, she is re-assigned to get them back.
She is teamed up with a local cop named Kishima. It seems that Kishima has plans for the stock certificates of his own.
With no one to trust, Rei must wage a one woman war against the corrupt and the guilty.
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: The DVD is of moderate quality. There are pixels, wrinkles, and other digital garbage all over the place.
AUDIO: Well done for both the English and Japanese Dolby 2.0 tracks. The English track is louder in volume, but the Japanese language track has a fuller sound. On both versions, the sound is crisp and rich, full of surround sound during the action elements.
EDITS: The Japanese opening credits have been overlaid with English credits and the closing credits have been replaced. No edits to the movie have been made.
EXTRAS: No extras. Not even a trailer.
STORY: This is a pretty typical "exploitation" film. Attractive women with guns, hard as stone Yakazua, sneaky crooked cops who play both sides, and plot twists you can see a mile away. Its ending is also nihilistic, which is usually the only route these films can take.
ACTING: The Japanese cast is decent. Natsuki Ozawa looks good holding a gun, and can do a sex scene very well. The rest of the cast is pretty typical for a made-for-video movie, so don't expect a lot.
The English dub is horrible. Few of the voices matched the character, and their delivery was flat and dull. This shows why live action films should never be dubbed.
FAN SERVICE: Well, if girls with guns is your fetish, then this movie will fill you up. Just about every female is nude at some point. Sorry guys, no lesbian scenes in this one.
The Zero Woman films have been a staple of the made-for-video market since the early 90's. Like James Bond, there always seems to be another Zero Woman. Many of the actresses move on to bigger and better projects, allowing a new actress to continue on the track of stardom. Harkening back to the days of the "Nikkatsu" films of the 60's, the scripts are pretty much the same. The characters are not that complex, there is lots of nudity and sex, and the violence is plentiful. Each Zero Woman director infuses their own style, in the hope that one will stand out from the other.
This one is no different. While a decent one to start off with, there are better (Dangerous Game is my personal favorite). The formula is the same. Rei finishes a mission, gets assigned a new one, and spends the remaining 45 minutes trying to complete it. A "successful" mission usually involves most of the cast getting killed. To be honest, you don't watch Zero Woman for the plot. You watch it to see lots of violence, sex, and hot babes using big guns. What more can you ask for?
This is not actually the first Zero Woman movie. The first, also released by Tokyo Shock, is under the title "Zero Woman: Finial Mission".........oops!
Those of you who love Hong Kong films may find the action scenes a little stiff, and the gun play, while plentiful, is not of the high caliber (pardon the pun) we have come to expect from Asian movies.
As this was an early release for Tokyo Shock, I am inclined to cut them some slack for the so/so quality of the DVD. With so much of this movie set in the dark or at night, you can see every single piece of digital crap. Thank goodness the source was pretty grainy, or it would have looked really bad.
There are actually two versions of the movie on this disc. There is a English language version, where the movie is in the center. The Japanese language version has the image pushed up to the top, with the subtitles burned into the black area. I don't like having the screen pushed up on the Japanese subtitled version. While I appreciate the reason, I have no problem with the subtitles on the screen.
So, if you need your fix of Japanese women running around in tight dresses shooting things, Zero Woman is the right movie for you. Don't expect a lot, and you will have a good time, even if it's not your birthday.
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