"YO-YO GIRL COP" has the kind of title that anyone shouldn't take seriously, and quite frankly, that's the only way to approach this latest film from Kenta Fukasaku (Asst. 2nd unit Director of Battle Royale, Geisha House). The film is freely adapted to manga of the same name (Sukeban Deka, Delinquent Girl Detective), therefore, like I said, not to be taken seriously. C'mon, it is about a hot girl who uses a "Yo-yo" to bash bad guys for crying out loud…Don't expect an award- winning feature.
Aya Matsuura plays Asamiya Saki, a trouble-making girl with a complex past. Apparently, her mother is accused of espionage in the U.S., and to have the Japanese government plea bargain for her life, Saki must infiltrate the Seisen academy under the supervision of Kira, "Department K". She has 3 days to find out the truth about the mystery behind the mysterious countdown on a peculiar website, "Enola Gay" (named after the plane) and to help her mother. On the race against time, she encounters bullies, indifferent teachers and an odd female Student who may hold the key in unraveling the mystery and to prevent a terrorist group's apocalyptic plot.
Despite its faults, Yo-Yo girl cop delivers hard-hitting action with an anime touch, complete with intimidating sexy poses, an eccentric bad guy, outrageous gadgets and dominatrix outfits. Sexy Aya Matsuura fits the title role and hottie Rika Ishikawa plays her main nemesis. This is the type of movie that channels ‘guilty pleasure’ as we see a J-Pop star sporting a sailor moon outfit with a yo-yo as her weapon of choice. (some ancient tribes have yo-yo like weapons). I have no idea why Saki does carry a yo-yo for a weapon, but the film isn’t titled “Sukeban Deka” for nothing.
However, the occasional slapstick comedy seems out of place at times, it makes me grind my teeth. It starts with action, then comedy, then action, then a bit of drama, then action. The plot felt "Kiddie" and "goofy" because of the screenplay, there is a strong probability that adults will not appreciate it to the fullest, particularly the way the stakes in the story is played. Thankfully, the side-plot and links between characters is more complicated than expected. It is quite interesting as some revelations does have the potential to carry the film, but it seems to me that the film slows down any chances of momentum. I have some issues as to why Saki often loses a fight she gets into and I do have problems as to how the fights get set up in the script. Yes, the plot is pretty clumsy but then again, this film wasn’t intended to win any awards.
For someone to appreciate this film, you will have to have at least have some background to anime and manga, as to feel a connection. You will have to be enamored by the lead character; Aya Matsuura, and the villainess; Reika Ishikawa(which wouldn't be very hard, since they are both hot). The direction also does its best to have a balance between drama and some humor, to prevent anyone from taking the film too seriously--even the characters are odd and bizarre. The fights themselves are decently choreographed for what the movie really is. The uses and advantages of having a yo-yo as a weapon is indeed brought into the film’s concept with a curious energy. Let’s not forget, there is always some guilty pleasure for men when they watch two beautiful women fight it out.
It is better than the low-budget Japanese flick "Cool Dimension" and maybe on par with the live-action adaptation of "Cutie Honey". The film is definitely nothing special, the promise of its coolness and style maybe greater than its actual delivery. People who come in not expecting much, who love ANIME-inspired action choreography and just want to have a fun diversion should give this movie a go. It is cartoonish, but I think it is part of its charm. It is one of those films that you either enjoy it for what it is or be bored with it. Fans of Japanese cinema may still have a good time with this film. (Ahem), Did I mention Aya and Reika are Hotties?!
RENTAL [2 ½ Out of 5 Stars] This Review was Originally posted in amazon but has been re-written and re-edited for Lunch.com.
The type of film that you need beer and pizza to enjoy. It is a low-budget adaptation of the anime Sukeban Deka and stars Aya Matsuura. J-pop stars take on anime action!! A little goofy and silly...but hey, it was intended that way.