Having a title like GEISHA ASSASSIN, or its original moniker GEISHA VS. NINJAS, is misleading. Firstly, it’ll be sure to attract fans of the recent spate of ultra-gory Japanese splatter flicks like TOKYO GORE POLICE and MACHINE GIRL. But GEISHA ASSASSIN is not an ultra-gory Japanese splatter flick, it’s an action heavy Japanese martial arts flick.
Secondly, the main character is hardly a Geisha – she just looks like one. There’s also a distinct lack of ninjas (considering its original title), with only four (in one scene) in the entire film. It’s false advertising. Then again, if your favourite film is DEAD MAN WALKING and you didn’t care that it wasn’t about zombies, you probably won’t mind the lies.
But you might mind the fact that GEISHA ASSASSIN isn’t that great. It’s serviceable, but in the sense that it needs work, it could do with going in for aservice. It has elements that will clearly please some, but it also contains conflicting aspects that will clumsily lose its stars. A quick rundown of pros and cons is in order:
It’s mercifully short. At only 78 minutes it’s a fast-paced ride that isn’t too concerned with exposition for the most part. The majority of its running time consists of fight sequences.
The fight choreography is good. In some cases at least. Towards the end of the film, the quality of the fight scenes increases and some above-average fighting is displayed – evidently there was a great deal of effort put into these bust-ups.
It looks good for a low budget film. Although the low budget is evident, it’s not off-putting or detrimental. This is due to professional performances from the cast, and a flashy directing style that lends it a proficient edge.
Now for the cons:
The plot isn’t exactly engaging. The story surrounds our titular heroine and her quest for revenge at the death of her father and the numerous foes she faces on the way. Unfortunately though, these enemies aren’t explained and are seemingly plucked from thin air – all of this randomness alienates rather than intices.
The fight choreography is bad. In some cases at least. Towards the beginning of the film, the quality of fight scenes is not up to scratch and scrappy, uninteresting fighting is displayed – evidently there wasn’t a great deal of effort put into these bust-ups.
It’s rather nonsensical. It doesn’t particularly make much sense and is completely incoherent at times – for example a fight sequence where the enemies remove their heads and throw them at the lead is an imcomprehensible misfire. Saying that, it could appeal to fans of insane Japanese cinema that don’t particularly look for answers amidst the chaos.
All of the above make it rather tedious. It’s a bit boring, don’t you know?
Still, it might please those looking for a quick fix as it’s full of fight scenes, and there’s a warming enthusiasm that permeates from each frame courtesy of the game cast, but if you’re looking for a film that demands a deeper attention than mere surface gloss, then GEISHA ASSASSIN is probably not for you.
The Region 2 DVD from MVM Entertainment is a bare bones release with only a trailer for the film, complete with its original title – GEISHA VS. NINJAS – so the confusion has started before the film has even begun. Picture quality is fine, but betrays its low budget roots with a bit of screen drag here and there. There’s no problems with sound quality, but it’s limited to one audio track – original Japanese with English subtitles.