Plot: What’s it about?
A rash of brutal murders has citizens on edge, as no end seems to be within sight and the bodies continue to surface. The deaths are not simple murders either, instead the killings are perverse and twisted, as if a sadistic madman were responsible. As such, a state of almost panic has taken over the streets. Some people are afraid to go out, some are concerned about normal routines, and others are terrified even when at home. The police are able to do little to calm those fears, as no real clues have been found. So without any hard evidence and no real leads, the killer remains on the loose and no one is safe. Kyoko (Yoko Natsuki) is a forensics expert assigned to the case, so she goes over each corpse, looking for even the smallest of clues. The mutilated bodies don’t hold much information, but if even a shred of evidence is still there, Kyoko would be able to locate it, then use it to gather some crucial data. As she works more on the case, she becomes obsessed with taking down the killer, no matter what the cost. She soon immerses herself in the world of the streets, to see the world as the killer does, to get deeper inside the criminal mind. Even so, the killer remains one step ahead of her, no matter what she does. When Kyoko puts her own life on the line, will she be a hero, or just the latest victim?
Central Park Media has release several films in the Beautiful series, each of which focuses on a femme fatale’s adventures. The films often have blend action and thriller genre elements, with some erotic content tossed in. The results are varied, but most of the time, the films are well made and worth a look. The tone is often darker and more brutal than we’re used to, but the violence and sexual content are never senseless. This release is Beautiful Target, which stars Yoko Natsuki (The Fall of Aiko Castle, Kikoku), who more than lives up to the beautiful portion of her role, but is she the kind of femme fatale the series is known for? I wouldn’t rank Natsuki as the best of the women found in the Beautiful series, but she is a solid performer. She is very attractive and brings a real sense of seduction to her role, which adds a lot, of course. So she plays the femme fatale rather well, though the action scenes are a bit awkward. Beautiful Target is more of a thriller however, so action and even erotic content take a backseat here. I found the movie to be a solid one, but not in quite the same tone as the usual Beautiful pictures. Even so, if you’ve enjoyed the other films in the series, Beautiful Target should satisfy. Central Park Media’s DVD is slim on extras, so unless you’re a series devotee, a rental should suffice.
Video: How does it look?
Beautiful Target is presented in full frame, as intended. The movie looks quite good here, but keep in mind, this was probably shot on video and with a less than substantial bankroll. So the image is a tad on the soft side, but detail is solid and sharpness is more than reasonable. The print seems to be in good condition, with no serious defects to mention. I did see a nick here and there, but all things considered, the material has been well preserved. The contrast isn’t quite as spot on black as I would like, but that could be related to the source elements, instead of this presentation. I found colors to be subdued, but consistent, which means it is probably part of the visual scheme. So a nice, solid widescreen edition of the flick, which is good enough in this case.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio here is presented in solid, but not too memorable fashion, via a pair of soundtrack options. You can listen to the original Japanese language track or an English dub, of which I recommend the original soundtrack, without question. The elements are in fine form and never seem forced, while volume remains stable and never varies much. The music is clean and as rich as stereo allows, while the sound effects have good presence, all things considered. I found the dialogue to be great also, with a clean overall sound and no mishaps to cover here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some still photos, a trivia game, and the film’s trailer.