Secret Undercover Agent: Wild Cats in Strip Royale
Secret Undercover Agent Wildcats in Strip Royale continues the tradition of having weird microchips in fashion accessories that do amazing things started in the previous film. Wildcats in Strip Royale also continues the tradition of the film looking freaking gorgeous. The cinematographer should be doing mainstream work in Hollywood, not Japanese DTV exploitation trash. But Hollywood’s loss is our gain! In fact, a lot of directors in Japan get their start doing trashy exploitation work. That’s partially why a lot of the 1970s Sukeban films look so good, along with the hundreds of detective films and pinku films.
The biggest news of the sequel is that Haruna Yabuki left, and was replaced by Reon Kadena. As Reon Kadena has a much higher profile, this announcement caused a large amount of internet buzz that the first film just didn’t have. Although the internet buzz was pretty much “Hey, Reon Kadena is in a movie!” it was enough to raise the profile of the film far above the nothing the predecessor had.
Wildcats in Strip Royale does have a few other things going for it. It is obvious the actresses are having more fun in this one, Yuuri Morishita especially. Some of the costumes are pretty ridiculous and funner than in the original (the cats suits are actual cat suits!) and the plot is easier to follow without subtitles. Yes, that’s right, TarsTarkas.NET doesn’t need no stinking subtitles! I still don’t know the name of their agency or of some of the minor players, but such is life.
Quick lesson for everyone: In Japan, there are these supermodel girls called Idols. Some of them are just models, some do more than that such as singing and/or acting. The big Idols pull in a ton of cash, then marry some rich guy and retire. The lesser Idols do car shows and mall openings and marry midlevel accountants. Most of the bigger Idols have followings all over the web, and there are guys who just scan photobooks of models all day, or host websites that just catalog Idol pictures and news. Idols can specialize in certain genres, like the gravure Idols that star in the film, there are also AV Idols which is a nicer way of saying porn stars. This film will talk of Pure Idols, which is another term used but I don’t know exactly what it means. And let’s not forget the Idols who are thrown so whips can be received.
Secret Undercover Agent: Honey & Bunny
aka Himitsu Sennyuu Sousakan: Honey & Bunny
Directed by Keiichi Kobayashi
Written by Yoshiyuki Morita
From the land of Japan comes the first of the Secret Undercover Agent films, what is basically a showcase for two gravure idols. For those of you who don’t speak Japanophile, gravure idols are models that pose almost naked, but not quite naked. Thus we have no nudity and have to make due with implied nudity. Don’t blame me for the lack of naked chicks, this is purely a Japanese phenomenon. The two gravure idols are Haruna Yabuki and Yuuri Morishita.
The plot of this and the sequel is there is a secret organization whose name I haven’t ever figured out that does James Bond-type work in the fashion industry. So I am guessing Zoolander was also an inspiration. This allows for the girls to wear lots of skimpy outfits, while at the same time there being action and other things happening. What makes the Secret Undercover Agent movies stand out is they are beautifully shot. They seriously have some of the best cinematography I have ever seen in what is essentially an exploitation film. The film was written by Yoshiyuki Morita and directed by Keiichi Kobayashi, so they get the majority of the credit and blame.
The DVDs come lacking English subtitles, so there will be certain things we are guessing at. At TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! Another guess is at some of the character names, our rudimentary translation skills were put to the test and found lacking (partially because I didn’t want to devote three times the amount of time trying to find out a character’s name than I was spending writing the whole review!)
Now, we must try not to let exploitation films speak for a culture as a whole, though it does speak for a subculture of the main culture. Do you want Japan judging us based solely on The Hills Have Eyes 2? As far as exploitation flicks go this is pretty tame and would barely even qualify, if it wasn’t so blatant on showing off the gravure girls it could even pass itself off as a comedy.