Synapse // 1992 // 74 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 5th, 2010
(What's Japanese for "BRAAAIIIIINNNNNNNNNSSSSSS!!!!!" ???)
What are the odds that a movie about a young Japanese girl in battle armor slaughtering zombies in Tokyo would suck? Quite good actually!
When a meteorite strikes Tokyo, a mysterious shield pops up over the city, trapping its inhabitants inside. Meanwhile, an interstellar gas has escaped, infecting civilians and transforming them into flesh-eating zombies that bleed green goo for some reason.
The remnants of the military have one last card to play before Tokyo gets completely sucked into undead oblivion. K-ko (renowned Japanese wrestler Cutie Suzuki), the titular Battle Girl, wastes no time in decking herself out in awesome armor and taking the fight to the streets.
I don't know how you screw up a movie about a zombie-killing girl played by a professional wrestler, but the folks behind Battle Girl perfected the formula. Simply put, this is one of the most boring, nonsensical, bloodsucker excursions I've seen. It was a floater over the plate, and the filmmakers whiffed it in dramatic fashion.
First off, not nearly enough zombies get slaughtered. If your DVD case is showing a bad-ass mama pointing an Uzi at the audience, with bloodsuckers in the background, grimacing and just waiting to get smoked, there's a certain expectation that comes with such a bold choice; namely that girl is going to off some zombies! Alas, the kills are infrequent. When you do eventually get to soak up some violence, the sequences are out spaced by lots of daylight, which is, of course, filled with painful, incoherent exposition.
Plotwise, there's some drivel about a traitorous general and a squad of "human hunters" (e.g. castoffs from a Bananarama cover band). All of this is the key to freeing Tokyo from the clutches of Meteor-mania, but I quickly lost a handle on the story.
The only redeemable features in the film are its tone and bloodletting. Battle Girl is not a serious meditation on the nature of man's survival or a nuanced slice of social commentary. It's a tongue-in-cheek romp, which makes the ludicrous narrative a smidgen easier to swallow. And when we do get some zombie mayhem, the weirdo green slime flows freely; with torso rips, decapitations, and messy gunshot wounds the norm. The hand-to-hand combat is garbage though, a surprise considering the lead's pedigree.
Synapse's DVD isn't impressive. The full frame transfer is Super-VHS quality and the Japanese 2.0 stereo mix is shallow. One extra: an interview with director Kazuo Komizu.
You've been a very bad Battle Girl.
Guilty of making widespread Japanese zombie death stultifying.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 74 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Not Rated