Zero Woman: Dangerous Game (1998) from Brainscan

Halfway through Zero Woman: Dangerous Game (1998) is a scene that Tarantino would just love. Our heroine, Rei, has just dispatced two low-level baddies, one with a shot to the chest, the other with a shot to the head. There she is downloading from a nearby computer the names and addresses of the baddies' colleagues, all the while you hear the sound of liquid spilling onto the floor. Jump cut to a table holding up the dead bodies, from which flow two mingled streams of blood. So that's what the sound is.

Such is the Zero Woman series in a nutshell, this installment in particular.

The idea behind all the Zero Women is pretty frickin' reprehensible: crime is rampant in the island nation of Japan, so the police have turned to dealing with bad guys and gals, not through the niceties of trials and imprisonment, no sireee. They do it Texas style, only without the judges and appeals courts and sterile syringes filled with potassium. The mysterious Rei gets sent in to the lair of evil and no one but Rei walks back out. No one should find this a compelling way of dealing with things in his own backyard. But since Japan is no less exotic and no less foreign to me than Texas, I'm figuring let the local folks handle things their own, quaint way. That frees up me to enjoy these movies.

And enjoy them I do. Allow me to quickly mention I'm no fan of screen violence. Texas Chainsaw Massacre made me sick, Kill Bill made me sicker. And the worst movie I ever saw was a Stallone thing entitle Cobra, where the same theme of "supercop taking matters into his own hands" is glorified. What makes the Zero Woman series fun to watch is the way Rei, the Zero Woman (because she works for the Zero Dept) is played by each of several actresses. Rei is like La Femme Nikita, joyless in pursuit of her quarry, doing it for country and Emperor. And she pays a personal price.

In Dangerous Game, Rei is given two tasks: 1) hunt down those who are killing innocents to harvest their organs  2) keep alive the one woman who can bring down the head organ dealer. Because of task number 1 you get to see her blow away a bunch of folk... some of whom, even by movie standards, just didn't deserve the level of punishment they received. Because of task number 2 you get to see Rei interact with another woman. Said interaction starts out strained but becomes decidedly more pleasant over time, which leads to the exposure.


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Rei is played by Japanese babe Chieko Shiratori. Ms. Shiratori has not your stereotypical Japanese physique, in that she is tall and has a Jennifer Connelly-like upper body. Chieko is topless early on in a shower scene, then she gives up top goodies in a couple more "getting wet" scenes. The highlight of Chieko's nekkidness, however, comes in a prolonged scene where she and the woman she is to protect get very friendly with one another. Let's just say I'm a fan, but I don't think you have to be a Chieko fan to like this scene.

The other woman is played by Japanese actress Ichiho Matsuda. She is surprisingly covered from most of the movie but you do get to see a few frames of her tiny body here and there.

So, okay, I would have liked the movie even more had Chieko shot the whole thing without wearing a stitch, but that's like saying The Hot Spot would have been better if the beach scene with Ms. Connelly had gone on for another 45 minutes. In the end what you get from Zero Woman: Dangerous Game is a level of enjoyment that is rare. Nine IMDb voters rate it a 6.8, bur for various reasons I rate it a 6.9.

The Critics Vote ...

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The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 6.8/10. (Meaningless. Insignificant number of voters)
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics, possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

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