Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Yugo Sakamoto.
Starring Akari Takaishi, Saori Izawa, Tatsuomi Hamada, Joey Iwanaga.
Action/comedy, Japan, 101 minutes.


Reviewed as part of Glasgow Film Festival 2024


For those of you who may have missed the first instalment of the Baby Assassin's franchise, you may or may not be disappointed to discover that these films do not in fact feature infants who are highly skilled in the art of death but two young women, Chisato and Mahiro, fresh out of high school who despite their highly lethal line of work are more preoccupied with elaborate desserts and holding down a series of low paying day jobs to pay the rent for the day-glo coloured apartment they are forced to share by the Assassin’s Guild.


After impressively dealing with a boorish yakuza gang last time around, Chisato and Mahiro now find themselves suspended by the Guild after failing to keep up with their exclusive gym membership and late fees. Forced back into humiliating day jobs that sees them dressing up as giant animal mascots, the two girls struggle with normal day to day employment. To add to their problems, two young men, Makoto and Yuri, struggling with their own money problems decide to target Chisato and Mahiro in the mistaken belief that assassinating them will grant them immediate membership to the Assassin’s Guild and all of its perks.


Gone are the sharp suited hitmen with strict codes of honour that we are all too familiar with. Instead we get a group of young slackers in baggy clothes dragging their heels as they scrape enough cash together for their next meal. It is an amusing conceit, especially when their lethal skill sets come to the fore, resulting in some nicely staged setpieces. A bank robbery foiled by Mahiro’s skilled use of a telephone as a near lethal weapon being one example. However, it is a conceit that can only take you so far, here it is used to breaking point backed up by repetitive and lengthy scenes of “zany” dialogue, more often than not accompanied by a liberal use of overacting and face pulling that can soon become tiresome if you are not tuned into the films particular tone.


What does impress though is the direction and choreography of the action scenes. Although this is a low budget production they are expertly executed, each one standing on its own inventive merits culminating in a climatic sequence that manages to excite and impress equally, even managing to drum an affecting emotional beat that is otherwise absent throughout. The zippy camerawork captures these scenes nicely with long fluid takes that show the hard work that has been put in by all involved.


Newcomers expecting something of the more usual shoot ‘em up variety may find themselves disappointed here but fans of the first film will be more than happy with this new instalment that pushes its light zany tone even further than before. The subversive nature on display may mark it out for aficionados of Japanese genre cinema but newcomers may find it a patience testing exercise with far too many scenes of characters obsessing over pudding.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans