Written by: John White on March 4th, 2006
Release Dates: Japan, 1995, Japan (Zero Woman), (Zero Woman Returns), 1999 (Zero Woman: Final Mission)
Directors: Daisuke Gotoh (Zero Woman), Kyoji Saishyu (Zero Woman Returns), Koji Enokido (Zero Woman: Final Mission)
Starring: Natsuki Ozawa, Tokuma Nishioka (Zero Woman), Saori Ono, Shigemitsu Ogi (Zero Woman Returns), Misayo Haruki, Naoko Iijima, Takako Kitagawa (Zero Woman: Final Mission)
DVD released: August 26th 2003
Running Times: 90 minutes (Zero Woman), 90 minutes (Zero Woman Returns), 81 minutes (Zero Woman: Final Mission)
Aspect Ratio: All Letterboxed 1.75:1 Letterboxed Widescreen (Zero Woman), 1.88:1 Letterboxed Widescreen (Zero Woman Returns), 1.60:1 Letterboxed widescreen (Zero Woman: Final Mission)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
DVD release: Media Blasters
Retail Price: $29.95
Zero Woman: An undercover cop come assassin is chasing down a gang who have ripped off the mafia. She bumps into an old flame and they join forces but what does he really want?This is a largely uninspired addition to the Zero Woman series. Produced on a low budget and video which for the most part is over-lit and demonstrated the poor studio sets used. The plot is little more than a noir retread with the old flame turning out to be a corrupt cop.
There are though a few moments of good scripting which give good dialogue to the hit woman and the sleaze is better carried out than the action sequences. The butcher sequence at the beginning is well done but what follows and the cliche ridden finale are a letdown.
The disc comes with few extras and the transfer is passable but the original scenes were shot so over-lit that you will find yourself toning the brightness down throughout. There are dual language options and no extras.
Zero Woman Returns: Rei is asked to look into the business of a shady business man who may be a gun runner and involved with the Mafiosa.She is required to seduce and betray him but a relationship develops which leads her to realize that they both have been operatives for the police.
This is rather good. From the opening scene of a showdown in the car park to Rei’s being tested by her new boss in matters of gunfights and sex, the director looks for something with a little bit of quality to complement the gunfights. Saori Ono carries off the vulnerable hit woman bit convincingly and the chemistry between her and her prey is excellent which sets up the final showdown with the ultimate test of loyalties.
The disc again comes with dual language options. The print isn’t great but is perfectly acceptable and the sound is a little flat. There are trailers from other Media Blasters releases. This is a good girls’n'guns flick.
Zero Woman – Final Mission: Rei looks into the disappearance of young male students under bizarre circumstances and this leads her to look at an important businessman. Her colleagues seem to conspire against her and her friends start to disappear in mysterious circumstances. How can she end the conspiracy?
This film starts poorly with a shootout in a restaurant which lacks pace or any style but soon the hackneyed plot of a cover up is heated up brilliantly with excellent perversity. This involves a sadomasochistic dwarf and a relentless hit man and lots of attractive men dispatched after kinky sex with the businessman’s daughter.
There are two great sequences in the film. The torture from the dwarf is terrifically odd, and an early hit where an on the run father is dispatched after his young daughter is told to cover her eyes is superb.
The disc again comes with dual language options and MB trailers. The print is abysmal for the most part with poor colors, awful contrast and a lack of sharpness. This is a pity as it is a good enjoyable film if not quite as good as Zero Woman returns.
Given you can buy these three films in this set for about $20, the value of this set is pretty good. The two latter films are worth owning for fans of Girls ‘n’ guns so I would probably ignore the shortcomings and give in to the urge to have this boxset.