XX: Beautiful Weapon (Japan 1993)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/27/10
Cast: Masumi Miyazaki

For reasons that I don't fully understand, I decided to complete my "XX" collection by tracking down "Beautiful Weapon" and "Beautiful Target." Surprisingly, as far as erotic thrillers go, this one isn't terrible and it's probably the best one of the series. Either that, or my standards have dropped significantly in the last ten years. Masumi Miyazaki is a sad and beautiful blind woman who also happens to be an assassin. As the stress from her killings starts to shatter her mental stability, her boss decides it's time to take her out as well, which results in a tense hitman vs. hitwoman confrontation. Unfortunately, the appropriately downbeat ending is sabotaged by a ridiculously contrived epilogue, which leaves a bad taste.

Like similar low budget fare, this was shot on video and looks bland and grainy. The pacing is extremely slow, but the direction and cinematography are thoughtful. The characters are taken seriously and time is spent to develop them as opposed to just getting them naked. The action scenes are subtle, but nicely executed. Naturally, the sex scenes are painfully long and uninteresting, and ultimately unnecessary. Masumi Miyazaki shines throughout and delivers a nicely nuanced performance. Watching sighted people pretend to be blind is always awkward, but Ms. Miyazaki pulls it off admirably and her blank stare is unsettling. It certainly isn't a great film by any means, but I found it enjoyable nonetheless.