O@tM: Baby Assassins

Chisato and Mahilo are two high school girls who are about to graduate. They also happen to both be highly skilled assassins. When the organization they work for orders them to share a room, the relationship between them turns sour.
Involuntary roomies.

Japanese – and Asian altogether – cinema was always a riddle for me. They are still sticking to the old-school concept of One Filmmaker Realizes His Vision, free of an overbearing studio system. I love the risky approach; Kudos for that!

That’s fun, daddy!

This can lead to fantastic movies, often coming out of the left field, or independent movies punching in way above their weight class/paygrade. But it can also badly misfire. Or like in the example of Baby Assassins result in an average teenie flick. At least for western audiences. I have no idea if the movie was maybe a huge box office success in Japan, and beloved by critics and audiences alike. For me it was swinging between greatness and boredom and ultimately fell flat.

No Japanese flick without French maids. And neko ears!

I can’t judge the actors, coz I know in Asian movies overacting is a thing, it’s what they do. And, of course they are cute as buttons, but that is a given, innit? Similar for the story structure, which can jump, from comedy to high drama in a matter of seconds.

Tokyo is big and confusing.

For me and my European sensibiity Baby Assassins was just uneven, I didn’t get the comedic parts, and the relationship drama between our two leads didn’t get to me.

Poor dummy.

What was great and made Baby Assassins a worthwile watch was the camera and stunt work! I guess one of our heroines (the blonde) is a stunt coordinator and it looked like both actresses did all the stunts themself.

For scenes like this we watch the film.

And here is the biggest plus for Asian action films. The camera stays on the fight! We get to see everything in a more total perspective and with much less edits than in American cinema. The punches have weight, and we can observe actors/stunt people doing all the brutal stuff. There was a great deal of really great fight choreography involved.

Gun-fu.

CONCLUSION: As so often in Asian cinema, Baby Assassins is a mixed bag, as it swings between a really unbelievable premise and silly comedy on one side, and great martial arts fights and production on the other. Not a great movie but great entertainment. When the new generation of Jackie Chan-like productions comes in such appetizing packets our future is in good hands.

Stabby stabby stabby!

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