Plot: What’s it about?
Cheryl (Rei Natsume) is a bodyguard, but not the kind you see in most situations, some oversized lunkhead with a cheap suit. No, she is a more refined and talented bodyguard, one that never fails to protect her clients. Her beauty is deceptive, as it causes her foes to lower their guard, which allows her an added advantage, of course. When the time comes to protect her charges, Cheryl can use her vast knowledge of the martial arts or fall back on her skills with a gun, either of which is always up to the task at hand. After she shields a young boy from attackers, delivering him into safe hands to be taken to a safe location, Cheryl finds herself right in the middle of another dangerous assignment. She is given her new orders by Mark (Shunsuke Kariya), a one-armed bartender at a tavern in the bad part of town. A wheelchair bound techno-wizard is also part of Cheryl’s team, to ensure she is always one step ahead of everyone else. This time around, she is to protect a jeweler and Cheryl first checks the man into a hotel room, warning him not to contact anyone, for any reason. But he ignores the warning and orders an escort, which leads to some sex, but afterwards, the woman turns on the jeweler. Can even Cheryl keep this client alive, or has she bitten off more than she can chew?
A femme fatale with a bad attitude and a nice rack. What else could we want from an Asian action flick, right? While Beautiful Killing Machine has ample breasts and some solid shootouts, I found it to be rather unremarkable. I’ve seen the film a few times now and always have a good time, but I do think some changes could have greatly enhanced the experience. The martial arts sequences come off as less than impressive, so some added care with those scenes could go a long way, since this is an action movie. The gun battles are well done and fun to watch, so maybe expand those into larger scale rumbles, just to make the flick seem more imposing. The sex factor can’t be knocked too much, as we have some naked bodies on showcase, though the softcore sex scenes do add some giggles to the experience. The storyline could also use some work, but there’s enough odd twists to keep it all interesting. So no, Beautiful Killing Machine is not some overlooked gem, but it does have some positive elements. I’ve enjoyed watching it a few times and could see it getting more playing time, without question. This isn’t high art, but its a decent, offbeat Asian flick and if nothing else, the breasts and gunfights are fun to watch. I can’t see most folks sitting down with this one, but for fans of Asian cinema, its well worth a look.
Video: How does it look?
Beautiful Killing Machine is presented in full frame, which seems to be an acceptable presentation. The quality here is more than passable, but lacks the polished, refined texture we’ve gotten so used to. Even so, for what had to be a lower budget production, I think this treatment is quite solid. The print has minimal flaws to report, with only minor hiccups here and there, so the visuals aren’t hindered by grain or debris. The colors look bright and consistent, while flesh tones are natural and warm. I found the contrast to be in good form also, with stark and well balanced black levels at all times. This presentation might not be slick and flashy, but it is a solid and effective visual effort in all respects.
Audio: How does it sound?
You’ll find dual language tracks have been included here, as the original Japanese soundtrack is joined by an English dub option. As always, I recommend the original language and with good reason, as dubs almost always lose the intended texture of the material. I know subtitles aren’t perfect either, but at least you hear the dialogue as intended, instead of via some haphazard voice talent crew. The dialogue is well placed and never hard to understand, while the music & sound effects are also well presented. You won’t be dazzled here, but the material is covered and that’s what counts. This disc also includes optional English subtitles, so even if you don’t speak Japanese, you’re covered here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some character profiles, a trivia game, and the film’s trailer.