Beautiful Female Panther: Body Sniper (Japan 2010)

Rating: *
Review Date: 8/12/12
Cast: Mayuko Iwasa, Rika Kawamura

Ugh. Why do I keep subjecting myself to bad Japanese erotic thrillers? I blame model Mayuko Iwasa this time, because I like her and she was on the box cover holding a gun. Based on a manga of the same name, this is a needlessly confusing film about a pretty girl named Hikari (Mayuko Iwasa), who models by day and moonlights as a hit-woman. Or so I think. The lack of subtitles certainly doesn't help. To confuse things even more, Hikari has three distinct personalities, played by three different actresses. Hikari's main personality is the gun-wielding model, but when she's in danger she transforms into a sword swinging bad girl, and then into a virginal Christian girl when the danger has passed. Each personality has her own wardrobe and weapons, which makes things extremely difficult to reconcile.

When Hikari was a young girl, her parents were murdered and her brother disappeared. A kind florist adopts her and presumably teaches her how to kill. He also provides assassination jobs for her. As these films tend to go, it builds up to a tense showdown with the man who murdered her parents, and her long lost brother makes a surprise bittersweet appearance. Gag. No surprises there.

The film looks decent enough and the production values are good, but the action scenes are woefully pathetic and made even worse by poorly animated muzzle flashes and ejecting shells. They also visually make no sense due to poor direction and editing. Mayuko Iwasa is pretty and has a sexy voice, but she's not a very good actress. In her defense, the other performances don't fare much better and the characters are all dimensionless stereotypes. The obligatory rape scenes are entirely pointless and unnecessary, serving only to distract and bewilder the audience. The baffling ending destroys any dramatic closure that the climax built up to, and leaves a bad taste. Pretty much a complete waste of time.