最強兵器女子高生RIKA「Saikyo heiki joshikosei: Rika」
Release Date: February 18th, 2008
Running Time: 75 mins.
Director: Kenichi Fujiwara
Writer: Takeyuki Morikaku, Kenichi Fujiwara (Screenplay),
Starring: Risa Kudo, Takeshi Yamamoto, Mai Minami, Tsugumi Nagasawa, Eiichi Kikuchi, Lemon Hanazawa, Mina Arai, Akina Serizwa, Kotoha Hiroyama,
The title High School Girl Rika Zombie Hunter is pretty self-explanatory in terms of the content of the film. A high school girl named Rika (Risa Kudo) hunts zombies. Rather reluctantly, I might add.
She starts out the film as a sweet and slightly airheaded girl with more dreams than well-thought out ideas about her future. Staying true to character, Rika and Nami skip school and head off into the country to visit Rika’s grand father so she can get advice from the man who was once the best surgeon in Japan. Stepping off the train they find themselves in the middle of a rolling zombie apocalypse and it looks like it’s curtains for the pair but they happen to run into a man named Tomoya (Ryunosuke Kawai) who is visiting the grandfather as well. His reason is because his “sister” Sayaka is married to the old man but all is not as it seems because Sayaka (Kotoha Hiroyama) is plotting something decidedly criminal.
All that can wait because a wave of zombies attacks the house and forces the group to fight for their lives. Amidst the chaos Rika’s arm is bitten but thanks to her grandfather, she gets the arm of the ultimate zombie hunter sewn on so she can carry on fighting!
The filmmakers aren’t going for anything highbrow; this is an example of an intentionally dumb and campy horror comedy where a mess of ideas are thrown at the screen with little regard for the quality. It is a fair stab at being a horror film but with little quality in any field it feels undercooked and throw-away.
There’s everything from oppai moments as girls get their breasts out for little more reason than titillation (sorry), maids pop up (and they are the ones popping their breasts out) briefly for people with that fetish, there is some physical comedy and wordplay and the fights with crowds of zombies, choreographed by Tak Sakaguchi no less, are plentiful since there are legions of zombies chewing on bodyparts in this film. Horror fans will find much to watch but everything lacks the spark and vigour of dedication. This feels lazy, as if all the clichés are added but with none of the conviction or imagination you see from the Sushi Typhoon crew.
It feels that all the clichés and tropes and jokes seen in other films are brought up purely because this is a paint-by-numbers horror film.
I suppose my indifference to this film is partially explained by the filmmaker’s desire to aim more for comedy which falls flat, much like the story and everything else to be frank, because they are hamstrung by direction which is low on quality and imagination. There’s comic relief from three constantly bickering survivors in the town who engage in physical pratfalls that feel more like time-wasting than comedy gold. The costumes aren’t much fun and the props and CG while decent, leave little impression. While there is plenty of blood and gore it isn’t in the right amounts to elicit laughter or horror and the fighting is limp since none of the actors do it with conviction.
I don’t expect great characterisation and plot twists from this film but I at least wanted some entertainment and I felt that it was dull. Nothing in it appealed to me and I suspect it is because I have seen too many of these films. Zombie Hunter Rika never scaled the heights of quality and intelligence and it never reached ridiculous lows of other low-budget films. It features none of the inventiveness or zaniness of the Sushi Typhoon stable and there are too many minutes wasted on comedy that doesn’t work. It is, at least, competently made.
Others like this more so maybe I should lighten up.