CUTIE HONEY (2004, Japan, imdb: Kyuti Hani)
"Don't talk over my monologue!"
Based on a well-established anime character, this live-action feature film is out on Hong Kong Region 3 DVD (pictured above), and will hopefully be released Region 1 in the near future. Bandai Visual have picked up the US rights.
Got comic book villains kidnapping young women and professors of nano-technology? Can they not be stopped, even when surrounded by a hundred police cars? If bullets bounce off them, who can fight them?
Cutie Honey, that's who. She's the superhero who's a fast, strong, slightly dim, sexy, cute, master of disguise. Honey flash! All she needs to do is fight the baddies. But to find their hideout she might need to team up with a female police detective sharpshooter, and a special agent fop with a fast car.
This is an excellent attempt at turning an anime into live-action. The successful transition could be due to the director, Hideaki Anno, having also written and directed (and animated!) anime projects beforehand. The result is a film with a surreal, colourful, fast-cutting style and a nutty plot with nasty barely-human villains.
Obviously, having Cutie Honey personified achieves a level of sexiness that drawings never could. But besides her supple, ample figure, former model Eriko Sato also impresses in the fight sequences and dramatic scenes, as well as a knack for comedy.
The fights have a similar mad visual style to Kung Fu Hustle (also made in 2004) with a mix of live stunts and high speed 'cartoony' visual effects. The result isn't supposed to be realistic, but fun. This also means the special effects don't have to be photo-real, like the Hollywood superhero films strive for.
The other film this reminded me of, was the similarly tongue-in-cheek Zebraman. Also the recent Charlies Angels, but with much more cheesecake on display. Cutie Honey is cheeky, funny and a little edgy. Despite Honey's ample charms, there's a dab of gender confusion going around. The lead villainess seems to be played by a man, the lady cop is extremely stern and abhors weakness, villain Gold Claw is very butch, and even Honey's voice can get extremely low when she's not disguising herself as men.
But perhaps the reason I really liked this was because Honey's mobile has a Ghidrah ringtone!!!
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