Travelers (Japan 2013)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/28/20
Director: Koichi Sakamoto
Cast: Nao Nagasawa, Ayumi Kinoshita

Ai (Nao Nagasawa) is a top Dimension Investigator who has been sent to an alternate dimension to arrest a serial killer who's also wanted as a terrorist. Much to her surprise, she runs into her old partner Yui (Ayumi Kinoshita) who betrayed her and joined an underground resistance group a few months earlier. What follows is a bizarre sequence of events with alternate people jumping between alternate universes. It becomes so twisted and confusing that I eventually gave up trying to understand what was going on, and just focused on the pretty girls instead. Also, the translation isn't very good, and even the English is hard to follow.

It's a low budget sci-fi adventure that suffers from embarrassingly awful CGI effects. On the plus side, it's competently lit and the locations look decent, but the video quality on the DVD is awful. What's weird is that the quality of the trailer is considerably better than the movie itself, so I can only guess it was a bad transfer. It actually looks like the film was re-encoded at a lower resolution, which is disappointing. Koichi Sakamoto's stunt choreography is good, but it's obvious that he and Alpha Stunts were working with extremely limited resources. Unfortunately, shoe continuity is a constant and annoying problem, as the women switch between heels and flats in every other shot.

Like many of Sakamoto's non-sentai films, this one focuses on the sex appeal of its leading ladies, and the camera work tends to be a bit too fetishistic for my tastes. Yes, these ladies are sexy, but lingering boob shots and up-skirt angles just come across as tasteless and unnecessary. Nao Nagasawa and Ayumi Kinoshita give solid performances and do a lot of their own stunts, which is nice. They're also very attractive and do an excellent job of trying to be serious while wearing ridiculously skimpy and revealing outfits. I liked the characters (think of "You're Under Arrest" in a sci-fi setting) and I appreciated a lot of things that the film tries to do, but the execution is weak and the production collapses under the weight of its overreaching ambitions.