Gothic & Lolita Psycho

September 10, 2010

Goth loli shokeinin (Japan, 2010)

A night at Tokyo’s wildest gothic club: a yakuza playing with Asami’s breasts, an American gambler betting with human stakes, two men fighting till death in a cage, a deadly card dealer, and a guard eating spaghetti for his life. Plus, a sweet gothic lolita girl who will kill them all.

The opening of Gothic & Lolita Psycho shows enormous promise. That’s all the more reason to wonder how the following 80 minutes could so efficiently deliver none of what was promised during the first 8.

Action choreographer and feature film director Go Ohara’s (Geisha vs. Ninjas, 2008) Gothic & Lolita Psycho invests little in storyline. Almost half of the 88 minute running time consists of fight scenes, where the protagonist takes revenge against 5 villains who killer her mother. The goriness of the revenge mission is guaranteed by special effects director Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police, 2008), while style lies mostly on the gothic lolita outfit. The tool for the kill (or rather, 50 kills) is a custom umbrella armed with blades and firepower.

The film’s meanest villain is none other than director Ohara, whose sense of humor makes a failure kamikaze landing off target, right in the middle of the sea. Imaginative ideas are plenty – high school professor using his psychic powers for upskirt galore, a madcap teenage girl resembling the Hit Girl of Kick-Ass, and so on – but the jokes are stretched far beyond their expiry date. An opponent learning to fly in the middle of a fight is fun for 5 seconds, but becomes more of a joy-killer than anything else after 5 minutes in the air. The film’s opening fight is terrific – gory, ballsy, and even distantly comprehensively choreographed, but all that follows is tongue through the cheek. It’s a shame as the film’s first few minutes do prove the crew has the talent required for making a top-grade action film.

Nishimura’s gore effects are not bad, but fail to make a bigger impression due to slight lack of originality. Nishimura’s past works come to mind in ways other than visuals, too: the soundtrack occasionally resembles Tokyo Gore Police, which isn’t a bad thing. Gothic & Lolita Psycho’s visual offering is decent: film hasn’t been used, but the digital cinematography looks solid enough and not too home-video-like.

Gravure idol Rina Akiyama is entirely forgettable as the vengeful goth loli girl. The costume department hasn’t dressed the actress as much as they have placed an actress under a costume, in order to allow the stylish dress to walk from one scene to another. It’s one way to make it work, yes. The rest of the cast are mainly aiming for comedic performances, and mostly falling short. One conceptually interesting sadistic-dramatic scene has been included, but impact is low due to the lack of likable characters.

Despite all criticism Gothic & Lolita Psycho does have its moments, they’re just typically chewed to death 5 times before letting go, and even them with unnecessarily humoristic approach. A re-edit could easily create a 10 minute shorter, far superior product. The final fight would still require heavy reworking though: a non-stop CGI showdown with next to none choreography isn’t what’s going to satisfy the fans of the new wave action and splatter movies.

The ending credits do finally restore some good spirits with superb visual design. Nevertheless, the main thought after the film is: how did this happen? And how could the 17 year old school girl killer Misaki Momose be so charming live and so misused in the film?!


One comment

  1. As usual, photography was forbidden in the premiere, but it was lot of fun, quite a bit more than the film itself. The real thriller was, would Rina, constantly one step away from losing her balance and falling on her ass, cut the screen in half if she fell. The announcer seemed really nervous when Rina was up there with her umbrella sword.

    And as I stated in the review, Misaki was a real killer. You need to see her live and fall in love.

    Stolen photo

    From Livedoor News

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