RoboGeisha (2009)
By: Julian on July 19, 2010  | 
DVD
Eastern Eye | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | Japanese DD 4.0 | 97 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Noboru Iguchi
Starring: Aya Kiguchi, Hitomi Hasebe, Takumi Saito
Screenplay: Noboru Iguchi
Country: Japan
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
The Japanese have long been fascinated with human transformation and it has translated, to varied effect, in their horror cinema, from mutants (Mermaid in a Manhole, Tokyo Gore Police) to robots (Tetsuo, The Machine Girl and Robogeisha). After watching this film twice (I had serious trouble the first time), I thought I'd construct my review around a long list of synonyms for "bad". Then I decided to put a little bit more effort into it, but not after lamenting my decision to watch the disc in the first place: by most reports, Robogeisha is a dull, technically poor effort when compared to movies like The Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police – that latter film, lauded by many, left me a bit cold. But perhaps it was the Robocop reference that drew me in – surely an adaptation, with scantily clad girls instead of futuristic police officers in the titular role, wouldn't be all bad.

But those reviews that call Robogeisha dull and technically poor don't come close to describing its almost unfathomable ineptitude on every single level. An obvious one first: the blood and gore is computer generated, but of such a laughably low quality that it immediately diminishes the film's impact from the outset. There's a lot of the red stuff in this R18+ rated picture, but it has about as much impact as a king hit by a kitten. The screenplay is threadbare at best, completely unintelligible at worst – the best plot synopsis I can extract after spending over three hours with Robogeisha is that there exists a cyborg army run by a madman that's hell-bent on destabilising Japan's corrupt polity and taking over the country. Only sisters Yoshie and Kikuyakko can stop them, and they become robogeisha.

By the time we get to Robogeisha's brain dead dénouement, a lift of the scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 where Freddy controls a sleepwalker's movement using the unfortunate kid's muscles, it's augmented here by effects that look like ones Ray Harryhausen binned for being too unconvincing, adding insult to injury. Not that I expected writer/director Noboru Iguchi to make good on his preceding 90 minutes of disposable dreck with a killer 5 minutes of conclusion, but it would've been nice for Iguchi to throw something that remotely resembled a bone to his long suffering viewer. Alas, no such luck.

The performances are hammier than a piggery but I take some solace in the fact that I don't think they were meant to be played straight. That was the frame of mind with which I watched Robogeisha the second time, your ever-dedicated reviewer braving this wretched bit of celluloid twice in order for you, dear reader, to get the most impartial review I can possibly provide. Indeed, the movie does better – marginally so, I'm talking an elevation of half a point or even less – if you take it as a comedy that is intentionally bad, with intentionally poor effects and possessing intentionally low intelligence. But if Robogeisha exponentially improves in like increments to that second viewing, I might provide a positive review after forty or fifty goes (I might also add I had the beginnings of a fever the second time I watched it).

This review will be necessarily brief, because cynicism isn't really my bag when I watch and review films. But this movie insulted my intelligence, deeply upset me and probably did something irreparable to my cognitive functions.
Video
The picture is presented in 1.85:1, with 16:9 enhancement. It's crystal clear.
Audio
Two Japanese audio tracks in Dolby 4.0 and 2.0. Again, crystal clear.
Extra Features
A theatrical trailer, and Eastern Eye trailers for Goemon, Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, Tokyo Gore Police and The Machine Girl. Also included is a 17-minute short film by the director, Geisha Cop.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
We don't give zeroes here at Digital Retribution, but this was the worst film I've seen in a very long time. Madman has provided a disc that tops other English friendly releases on the market at the moment with a bonus short film and their typical high standard vis-Ó-vis audio-visual quality, though the film itself is about as fun as jumping into bed with a taipan.

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