Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's not often that a movie peaks during the opening credits

Congratulations, you've just seen the conceptual high point of Geisha Assassin, originally and much more misleadingly titled Geisha vs Ninja; there's only one real fight with ninja and the geisha aspect is peripheral at best.

This movie only barely has a story-- it's your standard "loner bent on vengeance" plotline, brutally shorn of almost everything you'd consider plot or characters. Almost every minute is the heroine either kicking someone's ass or silently walking to the next place asskicking shall commence. While I appreciate this progressive-minded refusal to waste time on a half-baked plot, the parts of the movie they did film aren't all that great. The travel scenes are tedious, and the fights just aren't good or outrageous enough to carry the entire film. The unarmed fighting is actually much more interesting than the swordplay-- the choreography isn't exactly improved, but they're a lot more visceral, just people brutally whaling on each other until the other guy stays down. We also get to see the rare irony of someone throwing a smoke bomb to escape FROM ninja.
I mainly watched this because director Go Ohara's next film is a collaboration with the always crowd-pleasing Yoshihiro Nishimura. Hopefully that'll be a bit more memorable.

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