aka Asaruto garuzu
Written and Directed by Mamoru Oshii
Hot chicks shooting up giant sand whales in a post apocalyptic future should be an easy sell. Except for the fact the film isn’t really about that and is instead just a video game level. The film is short as heck, but that doesn’t stop it from being filled with lots of padding from the worst opening narration experience since Alone in the Dark to many scenes of people just walking in the desert.
Add the above to the fact the women speak badly accented English muffled behind breathing masks and we got a film that is more annoying than anything else. Luckily, parts of the film are just in Japanese, and thanks to our impatient nature we have the import DVD cuz we aren’t gonna wait for it to finally get around to having an official US release. But at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!
The film is connected to Mamoru Oshii’s 2001 film Avalon, as the game the players are playing is Avalon(f), and there are references to other established canon from the Avalon film. Mamoru Oshii is probably best known in the west for directing Ghost in the Shell, one of the films that everyone who was into anime talked about all the time until I started ignoring everyone who was into anime. Now I just ignore everyone, because I’m too cool for school ::puts on shades::
Instead of being cool and dealing with the fact there is a movie filled with hot chicks fighting monsters, Assault Girls instead tries to impress us, then tries to give us a feast for the eyes, and finally delivers the goods. Except the only impression is of boring psychobabble, the feast for the eyes is more like a famine, and the goods arrive late and in small quantities. I can’t recommend enough that you don’t bother with Assault Girls. The best thing I can say about it is that it was mercifully short. But don’t take my word for it, follow along for yourself!
Blah blah blah, literally minutes of boring narration of pseudo-philosophical and economical drivel finally get to the point close to minute five when it mentions Avalon, a military MMORPG that you can jack into via your brain. So basically this movie is taking place in an Matix version of World of Warcraft. Why not just say that quickly instead of five minutes of fluff? Oh, if you think the narration is over now that they explained it is a video game, you are wrong. It keeps going with some crap about violence in video games vs reality. Hey, I wanna see chicks shoot sand whales, not argue about how Grand Theft Auto is harming the children that shouldn’t be playing it anyway if their parents were morons.
Is the narration over?
Now he’s yakking about the 9 sisters, legendary programmers who made Avalon(f), which is the game. The f stands for “Fuck you, narrator, shut the hell up and start the damn film!” We don’t need 7 1/2 minutes of narration to say “This is a VR game, and these hot chicks are probably 67 year old naked fat guys.” Especially when your film is barely over an hour long in the first place.
Now that the narrator has shut the hell up, we can start the movie. No, wait, spoke too soon. Now we get lingering shots of fog over a barren environment. Hey, I live in San Francisco, I don’t need movies about fog! At least the snail was interesting for the two seconds he was onscreen. I demand more snail!
Oh, a person walking around with a gun shaped device. Walk faster, buddy, this film is barely 70 minutes long! No talking yet, but a text screen tells us this is Jager. He’s just a dude in a baseball hat and gas mask with a big gun in the fog. Jager sets up the gun and then goes to sleep. That’s what I want to play, a game where you sleep. I can see why so many people were hooked. And by hooked, I mean this movie sucks.
Finally a big damn sand worm shows up that looks like the worm in Empire Strikes Back except with more eyes, and Jager shoots is several times with his big gun until it dies. Then a second worm pops up and eats him. Oh noes! If this wasn’t just a game I would be worried, but he probably just lost some XP and has to respawn at the edge of the map.
Then a fighter jet decloaks with Meisa Kuroki as GRAY flying it. She’s ready to kill some worm. Which is good, as there is a whole bunch of worms Dune-ing it out in the sand. Luckily, we also got Hinako Saeki as COLONEL, who wears red because that’s what you do when you are a worm hunter. The third Assault Girl is Rinko Kikuchi as LUCIFER, who crashes into the ground as some sort of missile and makes a big impact crater, but that’s her at the bottom dressed in black and she gets up and dances And she has wings.
At this point they aren’t a team and just three players blasting at sand whales.
Wait, Chapter 1? We’re almost 25% into this film! You can’t start Chapters now! I called it as Jager respawns and loses XP. Gray lands her fighter and starts sniping worms, but then Colonel also shoots some of the worms and Gray and Colonel troll each other over the audio chat, which is made hard to understand by the fact they are speaking very accented English combined with the gas masks that muffle their voices even more. One of them even says LOL outloud.
They argue about who will kill the end boss and then go shoot at it. The big boss is just a bigger sand whale and the three girls attack it in different ways. Lucifer attacks as a bird shooting electricity, Grey uses her sniper rifle, and Colonel uses her grenade launcher. But they all have to disengage the attack for various reasons the annoying computer announcer mentions (who is the same voice as the narrator from the beginning) so we move on to…
The computer tells Gray to join a party to kill the boss because she can’t otherwise, and it suggests the other three characters.
Chapter 2 is over already?
So Gray spends far too long staring around and thinking about joining a party At least we get some Battlestar Galactica-ish song playing during scenes of the three characters alone in the wilderness.
There is lots of standing around and waiting in this video game, I can see why it is so popular. Okay, we get it, movie. Models posing in the environment. They’re hot, we know, how about they do stuff? Movies are supposed to be moving pictures
Finally something happens as Colonel puts a snail on a statue. I knew that’s why I was watching this film, for all this exciting action!
I myself save snails from time to time, occasionally picking them up from parking lots or the road and moving them out of harm’s way. Whether or not they do make it I don’t know, but it’s what I do because I’m awesome like that. I don’t put them on statues, but I guess Colonel’s putting the snail on the statue amused Gray and Lucifer, but then Jager eats the snail! Die, Jager!
Why is there a random dog by the statue? Why is nothing happening? Is this some film with random elements of minimalism and supposed to be some sort of art flick? If so, why isn’t it in Black and White and in German? Who are these girls? Why is it taking so long for Gray to PM them? Who thought padding the film with boring walking sequences was a good idea? At least use jungle stock footage so they can point out various animals. Or have random CGI animals every once in a while in the desert that they point to.
Grey smashes the empty snail shell in a fit of snail revenge rage.
Awesome, Jager cooking and eating. Great game!!!! I can’t wait to virtually cook while my real body starves.
Camp Time, the four meet up and discuss working together. In Japanese. With no subtitles. Freaking import DVDs…
Jager and Grey fight for some reason, with graphics, and Jager gets killed again and again by Grey, respawning only to get beaten up again. Then she gets sick of that and starts shooting him. I am not sure why, but it is probably because Jager is a jerk.
I guess they are all working together now. Some sort of space robot thing named TemJin lands by them, Colonel will control it in the oncoming attack. Hey, maybe if you used that earlier, you wouldn’t have to team up!
The Madara sand whale is swimming around…attack! Madara has missiles and fires them at TemJin! A sand whale with missiles!! Very crappy missiles as TemJin flies off the map so the missiles hit Madara instead. Sand whale, don’t buy your supplies from the same Acme company Wile E. Coyote uses!
Lucifer dances then fires an energy ball. Gray, Jager, and Colonel all fire at it as well, and soon the sand whale is dead! Xp for everyone! Yatta!
The three girls leave Jager behind…he’s ticked off! Tries to PK them and fires, hitting all their rides.
The three girls shoot back…
The end??? What the crap?
Rated 2/10 (game ball, game ball)