Director: Shunsuke Kaneko
Starring: Rina Takeda, Nana Seino, Rumi Hanai, Kayano Masuyama
A quartet of girls goes undercover as an idol group to mask their real agenda; that they are really defenders of the planet from a group of super powered invaders from another dimension. As these invaders begin to replace key figures in government, it comes to these girls to put a stop to the invasion and possibly go on the offensive by taking the fight to them.
Director Shunsuke Kaneko helms this strange but oddly entertaining science fiction action film. Shot on a much smaller budget than the high budget films for which he is known, Danger Dolls feels like a throwback to the goofy SF youth oriented films of the 70s and 80s, for better or worse. Present is the over the top villains, the nonsensical science, and most of all, the stylized action and short skirts.
This group of girls; led by site favorite Rina Takeda, includes Rumi Hanai, Nana Seino, and Kayano. Despite the aforementioned musical aspect, it does not really offer much in terms of musical performances, but there is a surprising outgoing spirit that permeates the mostly physical performances of our leads. Fights take on a mix of swordplay and hand to hand with a healthy smattering of professional wrestling thrown in for good measure.
Juvenile in tone, there is quite a bit of upskirt that feels more uncomfortable than intended and some headshakingly bad bits of dialogue. Nothing can be taken seriously and unclear leaps in logic permeate the plot which is merely a means to an end, and that end is tokusatsu style action. Fairly action packed, the girls tend to be fairly similar in style with minor concessions for Takeda’s studied karate techniques and Hanai’s ballet reminiscent fighting maneuvers. Overall, there is a sense of goofiness that is hardly great filmmaking but enjoyable on a certain level. Guilty pleasure is apt a term, but the general standard of cinema keeps the film from ever reaching anything beyond one and done viewing.
Effects are shoddy and very low budget though the jury is still out as to whether that is intentional or through a lack of funds. While films from the 80s maintain a certain charm that earns affection, this similarly toned film is merely a shadow of that genre and never endears itself in any real way.
While the film is interesting enough for a single viewing, its poor pacing, juvenile storytelling, and cheap production value can’t even elevate it up to a ‘so bad it’s good’ level. Though I always welcome an action performance by the lovely Rina Takeda, it is simply too little and too amateurish to satisfy the mature cinemagoer in me. Childishly filmed and poorly executed, it’s an overall waste of its 97 minute running time.
You may enjoy the film if you liked: Azumi 2, The Aimed School, and Yo Yo Girl Cop