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A masterful feast for the eyes and ears...
Assault Girls has no real story. Also, since it is set in a computer game world, there is no real threat. Then why was I so engrossed by it all? It was simply a bizarre mix of many things that I love, served up in a very short movie. It all begins with a lumbering voice over that really doesn't fit with the film. I was worried by the pomposity of it. Next up came long takes sweeping the vast desolate landscapes. There was also a shot of a snail slowly crawling along. It was like something from a Terence Malick movie, where nature triumphs over story, only here it was in a funny Japanese OTT action movie. Soon we see a man walking and he certainly walks for a while. It was reminiscent of Omar Shariff in Lawrence of Arabia. As the film finally unfolds its basic story, we see this is all set in a computer game, where 4 characters are finding it hard to defeat the final boss. They must band together if they wish to destroy it. Quite why this story is that of a film is beyond me. Perhaps it is showing how people have become wrapped up in computer games and they are an extension of our lives and characters. But probably not. I really enjoyed its serene and quiet nature, but wish there had been more story. The effects were fantastic, and I loved each and every CGI creation. Kikuchi was once again the standout star in once again a mute role. Her screen presence is undeniably exotic and unique. Her quirky dancers, and the way she can captivate by looking at a hat. You wont get much from this movie, but it was a wonderful 70 minutes.
A sequel of sorts to Avalon, Assault Girls gets high points for its visuals from gorgeous cinematography to its cooler than cool costumes but its lack of a plot makes it hard to sit through even at 66 minutes. Rumor has it that this was just a taste of whats to come with several more Assault Girl films on the way which is fine by me but I hope the next one will have more in the way of a story rather than this ones paper thin tale of four gamers teaming up to take out a level boss.
Sometimes it feels like Oshii keeps making the same films over and over again. And yet I keep watching. As usual, those sucked in by the glossy cover and premise are quickly met with philosophical deliberations that drag out the running time of a 90 minute film to unreasonable lengths. But if you're an Oshii fan you won't mind.
Mamoru Oshii displays his creative science fiction imagination with Assault Girls.
Oshii's introduction and setup is on par with the slow pace, as chapter 1 of this picture doesn't begin until around 18 minutes in. The total run time is only 65 minutes, so that doesn't leave much for plot, which quite frankly isn't much; nonetheless, with only 4 characters that appear on screen, a slow pace, and limited story, Assault Girls finds a way to amuse.
Despite some flimsy CG, which only inflicts a small hurting, this picture is visually enjoyable. The cinematography is spot on and the musical score does wonders for the drawn out 3rd chapter.
The dialogue is simple and in very small amounts. A good portion is also in English and this is a bit of a setback, as the actors have Japanese accents. Some scenes also have the characters wearing masks, which muffles up the words even more.
Unsurprisingly, the action is in the beginning and end. It is nicely done with high tech weaponry and sound effects to provide that extra kick.
Most of the time the characters are separate and are either walking or sitting down in this barren landscape, so there isn't much to say in the way of acting. Meisa Kuroki, Hinako Saeki, and Rinko Kikuchi are all a treat to watch. Yoshikazu Fujiki, the lone male, provides some overacting.
Assault Girls may lack in a number of areas, but that doesn't stop it from becoming a sci-fi film worth checking out.
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