Written by: John White on January 24th, 2006
Original Release Date: Japan, 1993
Director: Kazuo Komizu
Cast: Norihito Arai, Takeshi Katô, Masao Kusakari, Masumi Miyazaki, Kunio Murai,Ren Osugi
DVD released: July 12, 2005
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Sound: Dolby Digital stereo
DVD Release: Asia Pulp Cinema
Region Coding: Region 3 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.98
A handler manages a number of assassins for his boss, Kabuko. One works at a coffee shop, one is a jazz pianist and one works from her house as a hit woman come prostitute. The handler needs to mop up some loose ends and starts pitting the assassins off against each other. Both the men are led to the house of the hit woman and instructed to sleep with her and then kill her. Despite her being a nervous wreck she proves hard to kill and one of the men falls for her. She hides two dark secrets.
Beautiful Weapon is very well done. It has a noirish tone which belies it’s origins as a Nikita rip-off. There is plenty of sex and violence but the thing that impresses is the wonderful acting and tempo of the piece. It has a great score which reminds me of Joe Hisaishi’s work for Kitano and it evokes a wonderful atmosphere of Shinjuku nightlife.
The slight story is twisted well by good characterisation with the hit woman especially effecting as a very damaged soul. Her sensitivity and need for darkness are eventually explained and the final act of the movie is her personal revenge. This final act loses the thrust of the story a little and it feels like the script is in a rush to finish itself and to cover too many bases – revenge and happiness. The boss Kabuko is slime, he doesn’t even stop whilst taking his mistress and holding a business meeting at the same time.
Beautiful Weapon is a good modern day noir which fans of V-cinema and Girls ’n’ Guns should see.
This is a V-cinema piece so the 4:3 presentation of the film is wholly appropriate. The transfer is not quite sharp enough and some night vision sequences are difficult to watch because of contrast noise and grain. The stereo track is dual language and the English subs are very good.
The disc comes with a bizarre quiz based on the film – “You are wrong, I will now slurp your knees”! There are lots of trailers for other Asia Pulp Cinema releases particularly the other “Beautiful” titles.
Not the world’s greatest transfer, but this is a good film which you will need to own if you like modern noir.