Friday, February 8, 2013

Assualt Girls - aka Easiest Blog Ever...

Ok. This week we chose to spin the roulette wheel of "foreign action films" and pick something we knew nothing about. And, sometimes when playing roulette you win big.

That was not the case with "Assault Girls" - aka Easiest Blog EVER! Why you ask? Well, let's get down to brass tacks here folks...

"Assault Girls" is a 2009 release written and directed by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in a Shell, Ghost in a Shell 2, and various other anime titles). And, one would have thought perhaps that with such experience and directorial clout that this film would have been knocked straight out of the park.

No.

ABSOLUTELY no.


Our story begins with the longest, most epic backstory of all backstories in the history of backstories. However, there are no subtitles and the narration is drown out by the orchestration and electronic/video game blips, whirs, squees, etc. Only through the assistance of a few online resources (mainly IMDB) were we able to piece together that this is a movie about video game play.

(And with that, Kelly should have shut the movie off. ^_^)

ANYWAY!!!

So the film starts with "HOLY BACKSTORY BATMAN", which eats up a solid 5+ minutes and still somehow communicates nothing. Then you are dumped into the middle of the desert to watch an un-named man with a ridiculously large gun walk... for another solid 5+ minutes.  Where is this going? Not even the character seems to know. And so he walks, with the wind, and the sand, and the sun, and the gun, and the clanging cookware on his back, and the clouds. OH THE CLOUDS!!!! And as he walks you get the sense the he is all alone, and he shouldn't need the gun. But, he must be hunting.

And he's walking... and he's walking... and you're wondering if Netflix is somehow playing the wrong movie because you're a good 10 minutes in and there have been no girls or assaults as of yet. Oh, and there's some napping, too! At some point he stops and sets up his gun and decides, for no apparent reason, that this place of all places is going to be a really great spot to shoot stuff. And then promptly goes to sleep in what looks like the rubber chips they cover playgrounds with.

Then come the sand worms. Ok, so maybe his spot selection wasn't entirely random. Or maybe he just got lucky. But now these big land whale/worm things that look like they *may* have been stolen from a Kevin Bacon movie start popping up out of the ground. J├Ąger (that's the name of our hobo renegade) jumps up, starts shooting, and it suddenly clicks that this dude is playing a fully immersive RPG.

NOTE: If you read the description on Netflix before you press play (which we obviously didn't) you would know this. And now we all slap our foreheads.

So anyway, Mr. Hobo kills some big wormie things with lasers mounted on their heads. And while you are wondering where the land whale/worms got lasers, and how they managed to get them mounted up there, and whether they are controlling these lasers telapathically or what, the girls FINALLY show up, and get Mr. Hobo eaten by a wormy whale thing.

MMMMMMmmm NOM NOM NOM...Tastes like chicken.

A brief rundown of the "girls" in the movie, as is also provided at this point in the film, which is now already 25% over (yay!):

Gray - Just about as boring as her namesake, she flies about in a fighter plane with a cloaking device, and occasionally stops to snipe worms.

Colonel - Machine gun lady in a red feathery cape.

Lucifer - Conveniently, her player number is 666. She wears all black, and a little bowler hat, can turn into a giant raven, and dances. A lot. An unreasonable amount. Remember playing in your favorite MUD, there was always some jerk sitting in a corner of the tavern typing:

"dance <enter> dance <enter> dance <enter> dance <enter> dance <enter> dance <enter>" 

... and everyone had to holler at them to cut it out because no one could see what else was going on in the room? No, just me? Anyway, that jerk is Lucifer. Though more entertaining than the other two, she's like a semi-evil Charlie Chaplin that can sprout wings.

And NOW we get a title screen. 17 minutes into a 70 minute movie. What? There are also these chapter screen break things throughout the film that read like an RPG bible and make you feel like you're watching live action anime (oxymoron?) and teach you nothing.

It is also here in the coming scenes that we learn that the entire film is subtitled, despite the fact that most of it is in english. Very very bad english that is spoken only because its use is required within the game... which makes NO sense at all. OH... and it's all spoken through crazy gas masks that serve little to no purpose, as well as gunfire, screaming beasts, and Lucifer's squawking.. *sigh*

"Player 0538 (Hobo Renegade), it's too bad that you had to die. Do you wish to access the field again?" 

You're gonna hear this line a lot, from the disembodied voice that is the Game Master. He's going to float around in the ether giving advice and regenerating people

So Mr. Hobo is regenerated, and starts walking around again. The girls duke it out over a bunch of worms they are each trying to kill, blah blah blah, petty childish banter, blah blah blah, and then the Game Master tells them all they've pretty much used up all of their resources for the day and they should all just go home.

Kelly's dog and husband are now snoring. And the movie is.... 38% complete. *sigh again*

And then we notice, you know who's not subtitled? The freaking Game Master. The random dude from New Zealand who has so much reverb the television speakers threaten to go on strike. The man we could not understand in the beginning, and cannot understand now. Nice. So what is he trying to say?

In his very convoluted, roundabout and entirely garbled way, he tells each of the four players individually that they should probably consider joining a party to beat the biggest worm thing in the level, the name of which is incomprehensible, otherwise it will take them months to level up. What's this? A plot point? No... it can't be! He also tells hobo boy that he should probably look for some kind of transportation, which would not only help us out so we don't have to watch him walk everywhere, but is also ironic foreshadowing. It would be funny later, if you cared at all about the film.

The players promise to think about forming a party. And they do think. For the next 7 minutes. Staring into space, contemplative thinking, complete with lots of cloud scenes, no talking except for a replay of the Game Master's advice, a really bizarre solo dance scene for Lucifer.

And then there's a snail on a rock. It's a metaphor... BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN??? We don't know. We looked it up, and we still don't know.

More walking. Now everyone! More thinking. It has now been... oh wait, more clouds. More "better form a party because you cannot win this level solo" repetition from the Game Master. It's been 10 minutes. TEN! T-E-N!

And anyone who ever considered playing WoW but didn't is breathing a sigh of relief. If this film were a hard sell for video game play, we will all take a PASS, thank you.

So now Colonel comes across this statue of a person kneeling with a pack on their back and reading some kind of book. I can has cheat guide? Hmm... no, not so much. The statue appears to serve no purpose, except that it seems Colonel has picked up the previously aforementioned snail from the rock he was so happily sitting upon, and has walked him miles across the desert to place him on the head of this statue.

"Dammit woman! Do you have any idea how long it took me to get over there??? Now I'll never get home! YOU OWE ME RESTITUTION!!!!" 
- The Snail
(We're bored. Can you tell?)
We watch the snail crawl around on the statue for another few minutes (more clouds), Lucifer comes and puts her hat over the snail, who is now blinded and terrified and far from home. Hobo comes along a moment later, picks him up, and eats him. Right out of his shell. Umm. What? He puts the shell back on the statue, and then Gray comes along and smashes it.

WE DON'T UNDERSTAND YOU! 
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?????

More nature shots. Random dog wandering by statue. Probably looking for his friend snail who has been snail-napped and brutally slain. And then there's this really angry looking shaking daisy that's all like "ERHAMAGERRRRRRD!! CAN WE END THIS ALREADY???" 2/3 of the way in and there hasn't been a single assault. Well. Ok. Perhaps upon my intelligence and time. And maybe that empty snail shell. No assualt. No with the waputcha. And we really were looking for the waputcha.

Ok, we're gonna take a breath and recommit to this film. Hey look, eggs. And a lot of things written on the screen of augury. Hobo appears to be making a dinner of bread and eggs and bacon whilst the Game Master attempts to teach us about characters used in augury. What is Augury? And why aren't his eggs cooked properly? And why is he haphazardly slicing sectioned off bread?

OH THE HUMANITY WITH THE SLOPPY FOOD SCENE!?!!?!? 

What is it with the friggin Japanese and their slurping 10 minute food molesting scenes?? He hasn't even finished chewing and he's stuffing more... oh god... oh... blech.

And now the film is suddenly in Japanese. Sort of. What? Gray shows up to be a buzz kill and ruins the bacon molesting. Hobo renegade is angry, but follows her anyway. She leads him to a different middle of nowhere. Apparently somewhere in all of the cloudy business the three girls formed a party, and feel that they need this guy and his massive gun to join to help them kill the big boss wormy whale thing. Lucifer laughs like a bird, Gray and Mr. Hobo have a ridiculous Mortal Combat style four round fight to decide whether he will join their party (yay, some really bad punching!!!), he loses badly, they try to make it funny.... and... moving on.

So now they're all off to fight the big bad guy. 12 minutes left! The end is in sight! Aaaaaah, it's called a Madara. We know this only because it's written plainly on someone's GPS. Ummm... Oh no!! General Grievous has just popped out of the Apollo 13 space capsule and is plummeting toward earth! Or something. And I hope, for a moment, that the YS I just noticed on the back of Hobo's hat is somehow paying homage to the RPG of the same name, but that's neither here nor there.
Hobo is set up to shoot, the girls are all set to distract, and General Grievous is on his way, though we're not sure why. Ooooh, that's why. Colonel apparently ordered him and is now controlling his large crazy body telepathically to blow things up. Lucifer dances some more. DAMMIT WOMAN STOPPIT! Oh wait. Apparently when she decides to stop dancing, Lucifer has the power of green aspoldie hands. So there's some asploding.... hobo shoots... and the madara is dead. Holy anticlimactic. Even Luke Skywalker missed once.

So everyone gets all excited, Mr. Hobo gets all emotional and weepy, celebrations abound... and then the girls take off in their transport devices, leaving hobo in their dust to go collect their points. He gets ticked and tries to shoot the girls down.

And it's over. Wait, what? Where did the movie go? Stuff was blowing up. I... wait... oh never mind.

Brimming with high-impact action and breathtaking special effects, this film will... hahaha. Just kidding. Don't watch it. Seriously. Unless you really like clouds. And the angry flower is ok. And maybe Lucifer's dance stuff is entertaining for a second. It's only 70 minutes of your life I guess, but I'm sure you could come up with better things to do with 70 minutes.

So, until next blog... don't watch this film.

- The Mavens

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