In this increasingly jaded era of cinematic history, the mere utterance of the phrase “video game adaptation” is sure to send waves of nausea and/or furious anger through the veins of even the most laid-back of horror fans. I may be somewhat of a movie buff, but I know what I like. And while Americans love to hate silly videogame based movies, I love them. Granted, there’s nothing inherently wrong with watching lithe Japanese girls annihilate an army of the living dead with a kinetic mixture of CGI-enhanced martial arts and swordplay for roughly 90 unstoppable minutes, but a little substance does, in fact, go a long way.
Based on the popular PS2 & Nintendo Wii game series, OneChanbara brings the adventures of sexy slayer Aya to the big screen in all its katakana-wielding, zombie-slicing glory. To defend her city, she has to take on a quickly multiplying army of zombies that was raised from the dead by a mysterious scientist. Aya is joined in the fight by biker chick Reiko (Hashimoto Manami) who is out to avenge her father’s death and Aya’s half-sister Saki who suddenly shows up in a schoolgirl uniform with a saber of her own. There’s no doubt about it, this is a B-movie. However, chances are your mind will be so dazzled by skimpy bikinis and kung fu zombies and sawed-off shotguns and impossibly evil doctors that you’ll soon forget that the film’s plot is basically non-existent.
It has all the scantily clad cowgirls and over the top, campy, bloody, violence I was hoping for and the combination of boobs, violence, and zombies should make for some good old fashioned mindless entertainment. The action scenes were choreographed very well, especially for a low budget movie. And when I think of low budget video game movies, I think of Uwe Boll and his atrocious movie called BloodRayne. The action scenes in Onechanbara far surpass the lackluster fighting in BloodRayne, where everyone looked like they were just winging their moves as they go along.
The casting for the movie was done well. Eri Otoguro does a good job playing Aya and looks close to her videogame counterpart. Overall, it’s a mildly enjoyable movie. On one last note, this movie proves that any movie that deals with powering up energy, should be made in Japan only please, I’m looking at you Dragonball Z live action movie!!!