XX: Beautiful Killing Machine (Japan 1996)

Rating: **
Review Date: 2/26/06
Cast: Rei Natsume, Shunsuke Kariya

The gun-penis metaphor takes a very curious twist in this erotic thriller about a female bodyguard named Cheryl (Rei Natsume) and the man she secretly loves. Unfortunately, the object of her affection happens to be a professional killer and they inevitably end up staring longingly down the barrels of each other's guns. Love can be SO complicated sometimes. A fairly straight forward low budget action romp that shifts gears into a perversely fascinating erotic thriller during the second half. Leggy actress Rei Natsume does a very good job with her role and is considerably more physical than most other actresses in the action porn genre. While her fight scenes may not be particularly convincing, she doesn't pull her punches and the camera doesn't shy away from the action. It's also thematically important for the film to show her as an accomplished fighter, as little hints about Cheryl's background are sprinkled throughout the film. While it's not a great girls with guns film (and one could argue if it's a girls with guns film at all), I found the bizarre premise and the emotionally charged climax to be extremely compelling and satisfying.