Creating a great action scene with no name actors, little money, and inexperienced stuntmen and choreographers is difficult. It should only be attempted by the most talented of filmmakers. Most of the time, you end up with a few decent moves mixed in with lots of edits and quick cuts to hide the lack of talent behind and in front of the camera. Take Geisha Assassin for example, the script is weak and the scoring is generic; but the greatest flaw of this movie is the final half hour, which loses some steam and feels drawn out with too much bland dialogue. With all those negatives in mind, I would actually like to stick up for this film by saying that the plot has been unfairly criticised. It’s perfectly coherent within the somewhat mythical context. And the longer dialogues towards the end are actually needed for characterisation.
The story goes some like this, our heroine Kotono, whose samurai father was murdered by one of his pupils and now she’s after revenge, discovers that he was in fact one of her father’s most talented pupils, and that he had reasons of his own for the killing. The fights are entertain…( read more)ing with some ridiculously over the top wire-fu moments. In fact you’re never more than five minites away from a skirmish. the film is fairly violent, it is not particularly bloody. These are relatively minor quibbles that will be perceived as major negatives to those who so desperately want to see a geisha fight ninjas for ninety minutes.
Geisha Assassin is very good looking given that it was probably shot on a pocket change budget. Geisha Assassin also marks the directorial debut of Go Ohara, a man with a resume that shines in the recent wave of low budget Japanese genre cinema, having worked as action choreographer on the likes of Death Trance and Onechanbara. That’s it for the negatives though, and much of these cons are overshadowed by the numerous fight scenes.
Geisha Assassin is the sort of action movie clearly designed to appeal to action and martial arts movie fans first and foremost. When they’re specifically one-on-one, which is frequent, they’re extremely fast-paced and vigorous. Their styles seem a little over animated and unnatural, but they’re attractive none the less. Sometimes there’s a fine line between cheesy movies that are fun and cheesy movies that are bad, and unfortunately with this film it blurs the line pretty hard. Spotlighted on Japan Cinema today purely for fight scenes, skip the filler, point blank.