Directed by: Niboru Iguchi
I’ve only just realised that I really hate low budget films that knowingly aim for cult status. I want good stories that are told on shoe string budgets, wonky scenery and fluffed lines. I want the genuinely bad, because it was unintentionally genuinely bad, not the “we’re being too clever for our own good” school of cult film making that knowingly makes a film bad. You know, the kind of directors who create buzz worthy set pieces that will be made into endlessly recycled Gif’s or feature in short videos put together by smart aleck’s with too much time on their hands (yes, even more time than it takes to write a movie review). The ridiculousness of acidic breast milk being fired from rubber nipples or shuriken’s being shooting out of somebody’s bottom. Lowest common denominator humour permeates RoboGeisha and means the film ends up becoming a campy mix of the more risqué elements of the ‘Carry On’ films alongside fights scenes that wouldn’t have looked out of place in ‘The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’. I hope you now have a mental image of Barbara Windsor in the pink ranger outfit.
The opening of the film isn’t half bad. It’s nonsensical but you have to go with it. A politician gets attacked by a robot, she splits in half and not one put two assassins appear from her body, Russian doll style. Then Yoshie the RoboGeisha turns up to save the day. Arse kicking karate kicking chicks deliver powerful lines like “You touch my tits and frankly they’ll be a hole in your face”. It’s almost a modern take on Clark Gable’s classic line in ‘Gone with the Wind’. After taking care of the sinister threat Yoshie asks herself “What am I? A robot or a geisha?”
We then learn the origin story of the RoboGeisha, which begins in sibling rivalry. Yoshie is bullied at home by her older sister Kikue. Despite being incessant picked on she still loves her older sister. The pair are headhunted and then coerced into training as assassins for the evil Kageno Steel Corporation run by a malevolent Father and Son duo. The sisters are made to fight each other during one training drill, and Yoshie humiliates Kikue. Both end up getting mechanical implants to enhance their fighting skills, but whereas Kikue is all in when it comes to working for Kageno, Yoshie gets her head turned by a renegade group who tell her they’ve had family members kidnapped by the Corporation. The group make Yoshie aware about Kageno’s terrorist plans. Yoshie then faces a race against time to prevent a bomb getting dropped on Mount Fuji.
‘RoboGeisha’ isn’t a film suitable for any kind of deep critical analysis. You aren’t supposed to take it seriously, it’s one of those films that you tell your friends about, but not in the “you’ve got to see this because it’s brilliant” in an ironic way, but “for Christ’s sake watch this before the joke isn’t funny anymore”.
Since I’m a grouch, I didn’t really enjoy ‘RoboGeisha’ that much; the laughs all came in the opening scene. After that point I then became irritated and watched the rest of the movie with my arms folded, stuck in silence. There was not even a hint of a smile on my face as buildings bled, baddies got shrimps stuck in their eyes and Yoshie turned into a tank.