Written by: John White on February 7th, 2006
Original Release Date: Japan, 1994
Director: Masaru Konuma
Cast: Makiko Kuno, Johnny Okura, Katsuo Tokashi, Maiko Kazama, Koji Shimizu
DVD released: July 12, 2005
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Asia Pulp Cinema
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.98
Shion is God’s Warrior. She was anointed by the Father of the Magnificat cult when a mere child and has grown up answering the call of the cult when needed. Performing a hit she is tailed by journalists who split up and one is killed by her whilst the other, Ito, takes a photo of her hit. Forced to chase Ito down she finds him and takes the negative from him but whilst he is begging for his life she finds herself drawn to him. Unable to kill her lover she finds herself on the run from the Magnificat and the Father.
More Girls ‘n’ Guns with the twist being this time the hitwoman is working for a shady Church. Where other films of this genre make a virtue of the weaknesses of repeated formula by turning expectations on their head, Beautiful Hunter is just wrongheaded. The film has a number of unbelievable moments largely based around the idea that the hitwoman is so overcome by the gorgeousness of Ito. Speaking as a short fat hairy man Ito’s success with the beautiful assassin is heartening but, like that call I keep expecting from a lovestruck Uma Thurman, it is hardly likely. The scene where Ito starts by begging for his live by pleading at her feet and then her clothes marvellously tear leading to an unlikely tryst is the most laughable sex scene I can recall.
The director of this film was clearly looking to marry the success of better pictures like Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs and School of the Holy Beast. Consequently there is some torture, some Church setpieces and some gunfights but these are poorly done and the dubious taste of someone being electrocuted by an electric dildo is not made up for by either style or wit. This is all punctuated by MOR music which would turn even Huey Lewis’ stomach.
Beautiful Hunter is not worth your hard earned cash.
Like most V-cinema, this was filmed in full frame and the 4:3 presentation here is wholly appropriate. The transfer isn’t the sharpest and par for the course for Asia Pulp Cinema releases. The sound comes in dual language format with very good English subs. The sound is rather dull and lacking in punch.
The standard Asia Pulp Cinema extras are here with a bizarre Film quiz, trailers and character bios.