Zero Woman 2004 (Japan 2004)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/8/07
Alternate Title: Zero Woman: 0-Ka No Onna: Futatabi...
Cast: Maiko Tohno, Megumi Yamanaka

The "Zero Woman" series certainly has no regard for continuity, and after a five year absence Section 0's enigmatic agent Rei slithers back onto video shelves. While working undercover on a flesh trafficking case, Rei (Maiko Tohno) gets reassigned to look into a group of bio-terrorists who want to kill off the entire population of Japan with a new super-virus they've created. A cute and perky virus expert named Sara (Megumi Yamanaka) is assigned to be Rei's partner, which causes a lot of tension because Rei prefers to work alone. To complicate things further, Rei has been brainwashed and is looking to fill a hole in her memory. Incredulously, the kidnappings, virus, terrorist plot, and brainwashing are all connected to Rei's former chief and lover at Section 0. Will Rei have the strength to stand up to the man who created her?

Why do I continue to abuse myself with this series? I guess it's because I'm a sucker for girls with guns box art. Call it a personal failing of mine. Surprisingly, apart from the opening rape/torture/murder scene, the movie is completely free of the sleaze, nudity, and sex that pervades the rest of the series. Maiko Tohno is very pretty and broods with the right amount of intensity for the role. She holds herself well and looks convincing holding a gun. Her fight scenes aren't particularly good, but they're considerably better than anything we've seen in the series so far. Unfortunately, poor wire tricks and stunt doubling are readily apparent. As you would expect, production values are super low and the video quality is terrible. What's next for agent Rei? As long as money is to be made, I'm sure that she will continue to be exploited.