Chanbara Striptease has a fairly simple plot. On her 20th birthday, young Lila accepts the responsibility of continuing the traditional and deadly martial art of Sayama Hashinryu, which has been passed down the generations through the female members of her family. Upon drinking some ceremonial tea, Lila finds herself transported back in time, totally naked, with only her swordswoman costume at hand. Lila comes to the rescue of a pregnant woman called Miss Yae, who is being attacked by grotesque looking ninjas from the Yamishika gang, and soon meets Hikoichi, Miss Yae’s brother. Lila’s prowess with the sword and her special “ability” make her a target for the ninja gang, who try to turn the villagers against her. There’s a good chance I’ll to struggle to write a substantial review here, but then again, if you’re looking for substance you’ve rented the wrong movie, unless of course that substance is flesh. So back to the tagline we go, and the promise of blades, babes and boobs.
Directed by Akira Hirose, the film delivers pretty much exactly as expected, being a low budget slice of uniquely Japanese silliness. Despite its 60 something minutes it’s a drag to watch, no pair of breasts in the universe can compensate you for the tedious script, acting and direction (did I just say that?). But that applies to Japan, while here in America few people have even heard of Chanbara Beauty films, though probably more know about the games than the films. The kung-fu is terrible. I’ve seen more convincing weapon wielding in Norwegian Black Metal music videos. This is really just generally very, very irritating. Lili’s shirt is ripped open by one of the ninja dudes, and suddenly Lili’s boobs glow all crazy and she gets 100 times stronger. It’s the power of boobs!
This over the top release from Japan spoofs everything from video games, to martial arts movies, to sexploitation cinema. There are some funny moments though, and the fight scenes, whilst staged and not as spectacular as you might expect, are still well done, and I can’t think of many movies which have the heroine and villain performing swordcatching tricks with their boobs! The film was shot digitally, and it shows, with the added snag of an NTSC-PAL conversion. The image is clear enough in brightly lit, more static scenes, but add some fast motion, and you see a couple of compression artefacts appear. Darker scenes lack clarity and sharpness, and in brightness, whites are over-exposed.
It’s short and sweet at 65 minutes, and indeed were it any longer, it would outstay its welcome. Not really much else to say other then, this film is a dud. The plot, dealing with a young woman inheriting mystical martial arts techniques from her family and being sent back in time to ancient Japan does its job to deliver an excuse for what’s supposed to follow. But once the running time is up you’ll be glad the wackiness is over. So if you feel like watching an overly long sexy sport clip of hot Asian girls, lots of bare breasts and crazy, but bloodless, sword fighting scenes, then by all means, risk a glance. But you must understand why I can’t write much of substance nor give it higher praise. It begs me to think, ‘what were they thinking‘?