Eri Otoguro ... Aya
Tomohiro Waki ... Katsuji
Tarô Suwa ... Dr. Sugita
Manami Hashimoto ... Reiko
Country: Japan Runtime: 80 min Original title:Oneechanbara: The Movie AKA:Chanbara Beauty , Onechanbara - Zombie Bikini Squad
"Jaw-droppingly bad" is the phrase that instantly came to mind after finishing this 2008 film based on a video game. Promising a hot Japanese girl in a bikini fighting off zombies, it manages to deliver on that but in the cheapest way possible. Whether or not you care about CGI blood in movies, you will in this film because they don't even try to make it look real. But hey, it's based on a video game so the audience for it will probably expect a little cheese...but this is some grade-z gouda gone bad with some truly horrendous CG work.
This has got to be the worst script I have ever seen produced, and that is saying a lot, my friends. I feel like I'll be cheating you a full sized review because the only thing that happens in this movie is characters walk from one place to another. Yup, it's a journey movie. This means that the only plot really, is: we are here and we need to get there. In this case Aya, the badass samurai bikini babe and her dopey fat-boy sidekick Katsuji are looking for her older sister, who killed their father way back when they were kids. Since then, her sister Saki has joined forces with a mad scientist, Dr. Sugita, who has created a world full of zombies. They team up with badass gunfighter Reiko, who has a sawed-off shotgun with that new never-ending bullets feature I never heard about. Every character has a wounded back-story, revolving around family, and you expect them to resolve those issues toward the end of the film. Well, you're wrong.
About 40 minutes into the movie all of our characters come to terms with their histories in some crappy abandoned warehouse. Here Katsuji must fight and kill his zombie sister, who had gone missing years before and he has been on the trail. Then Reiko makes friends with a teen girl, who has been living alone, and reminds her of her daughter who was killed by zombies, only to have this "new daughter" killed by zombies and if she plans to survive then she has to get over the death of both girls and move on. Aya even gets to meet her sister (what a damn coincidence!) and have a quick, ridiculously cheap CG sword fight. Now, do you know how unsatisfying it is to have all your characters heal their respective wounds (emotional ones) in the middle of the movie? As far as the plot is concerned, we're done. Our characters have come to terms and moved on, even if Aya has yet to defeat her sister. But where else is there to go?
Well, I'll tell you. Apparently Dr. Sugita has a massive CGI building in the middle of this crappy field and that is where our bikini squad heads toward (just a quick note, though, Aya is the only one in a bikini and that makes only a rare appearance). The end of the movie is a mess just like the beginning and middle. They basically arrive at the stupid lab/castle/fortress thing and fight a whole bunch of zombie things that all like to wear the same raincoats for some stupid reason. Meanwhile, Katsuji battles Dr. Sugita who manages to get inexplicably killed by one of his pet zombies. But guess what, friends? It's only been slightly over an hour of movie, so what happens next to pad out the running time? Well, we get a long, boring, drawn out, slow, boring, and uninteresting CGI heavy finale with some eye-openingly retarded fx. Did I mention it was boring? And worse fx than an actual video game? In the end, Aya turns red (???) and kills her sister. Big deal. Everything looked so fake and was played so fake that nothing that wants to carry any weight can, in this hyper-stylized and cheap-looking world.
The film doesn't get a red death coffin, even though it deserves it. It gets no coffins because I didn't enjoy it enough to award it at least one coffin, and for most of the movie I was severely bored or shocked at how awful everything was, but there are a few cool moments so a neutral no coffins seems the way to go. The lame duck of a story was what really chapped my ass. If this was based on a game, couldn't they have thought of something more interesting than "Hey, let’s walk from zombie fight to zombie fight"? It feels like this script was made up on the spot, which would make sense why the structure and storyline is so flat and far from compelling. And why didn't they use real guns? A thousand rounds (at least) are shot in this film thanks to Reiko's sawed-off, but every shot is CG and every bloody impact (or bloody sword swipe for that matter) is CG as well. I don't mind it when it is done right, but when it is done poorly it turns me off completely and the movie looses me immediately. This is not worth watching. No crazy nude scenes, no heavy gore, and not enough anything to make you want to care.