I was most impressed with the fight choreography as not all was down to overly-zealose editing, as is the norm these days.

by Nav Qateel

Four female soldiers are forced to defend their Earth from invasion coming from a parallel Earth. A cult leader on the other Earth uses a wormhole and tries to replace Japan’s leading politicians with his own, in a bid for the obligatory world domination.

From director Shûsuke Kaneko, the man behind the live action Death Note‘s, Gamera and Godzilla movies, brings us the middling sci-fi romp Danger Dolls, in what looks to be the first in a series.

Danger Dolls stars Rina Takeda (as Ray) who won Best Actress at Fantastic Fest for her excellent turn in Dead Sushi. Also starring Nana Seino (Tokyo Tribe) as Mari, newbie Rumi Hanai as Arisa, and former idol from AKB48 Kayano Masuyama (Aoi Sora Shiroi Kumo) as Miki.

Danger Dolls
Directed by
Shûsuke Kaneko
Rumi Hanai, Rina Takeda, Kayano Masuyama, Nana Seino
Release Date
27 September 2014
Nav’s Grade: C+

Danger Dolls opens with TV reports showing stock footage of John F Kennedy starting a peace process where he proposes a complete weapons ban. Rather amusingly, it goes to Reagan then to Dubya Bush (with no sign of Obama), and has Bush as the hero prez who succeeds in banning weapons of all kinds! The report goes on to say “By the administration of George W. Bush, hailed by the world as its most brilliant leader.” I couldn’t sense any irony in this part of the mock news footage, although, it may have been lost in translation?!

Now with no guns to be found anywhere, swords have once again become the weapon of choice, and our photogenic foursome are on a mission to find the wormhole and prevent these alien intruders from taking over Earth. Mysteriously, our heroines are much stronger and faster than anyone else and they also have the ability to spot the intruders, who give off a blue aura that only the girls can see. Also, whenever they kill the ET’s, the bodies vanish leaving no trace.

Danger Dolls is very much your typical J-actioner, where abbreviated skirts are the order of the day and the corny dialogue should be lightly-seasoned with salt. I was most impressed with the fight choreography as not all was down to overly-zealose editing, as is the norm these days. And the girls went through what looked like a punishing display of set-pieces and incredible martial arts moves, and I detected no trickery. During the many melees, the girls fought and slayed dozens of mask-wearing attackers, but the masks were used to enable the same fighters to be reused over and over in the same scenes. I suspect this was to keep costs and manpower down. The camerawork was also noteworthy, and it was put to good use during the fight scenes with some nice acrobatic maneuvers from the cinematographer.

As is director Shûsuke Kaneko’s want, Danger Dolls has a strong moral message of peace, and to emphasize this fact, even though there was a huge body count, thanks to our heroines’ swords, there was not a drop of blood to be found anywhere, meaning this film will easily achieve a PG rating. While this isn’t Kaneko’s strongest film, action fans will no doubt enjoy all Danger Dolls has to offer.

You can watch the director and stars give a press conference on YouTube here.Just remember to set the subtitles to translate into English.