Chanbara Beauty relies on cliches, bad special effects, shallow characters and terrible dialogue to make a movie that’s 85 minutes of boredom.
Ever since the first OneChanbara game came out for the PlayStation 2, anyone who played it or is remotely aware of it, knows its intentions: OneChanbara is a B-movie released in the form of a game. Its bare bones story, flat characters, campy dialogue and exaggerated special effects made OneChanbara a game that only a handful of people could enjoy. Pretty much the same thing can be said about its movie adaptation.
In the year 20xx, an evil corporation by the name of D3 figures out a way to raise the dead from their graves and the zombie pandemic represents the end of the world as we know it. But there are people who resist the zombie apocalypse. One of those people is called Aya, a katana-wielding woman who’s always wearing a bikini and slashing as many zombies as possible. But she isn’t alone in her journey, since she’s joined by a shotgun-wielding woman named Saki and a man who also have a personal vendetta against D3.
Over the years, some movies and TV shows (The Walking Dead, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later and Zombieland to name but a few) showed what can be done with zombie fiction and this convinced an entire new generation of its appeal. In a sense, OneChanbara is a step backwards for the sub-genre.
So what can you expect from Chanbara Beauty? For starters, the characters are too shallow, since the survivors either speak too much or don’t speak at all and on top of that their stories are clichéd and uninventive. Chanbara Beauty uses pretty much every cliché you usually associate with this kind of movies: the character who turns into a zombie and the relative/friend has to put it down, the survivors’ families were killed by the zombies or the corporation and that’s why they want revenge, the protagonist’s pretty much invincible and most of the action scenes are ridiculously over the top and not in a good way. Also, the special effects are rough and distracting, the action’s hard to follow when there’s a lot happening on the screen and the protagonist is so powerful that you’ll never feel like she’s in any real danger.
I feel like I need to mention the final confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist which is bad and anticlimactic. The movie suddenly becomes overly sentimental, alternating between the fight and flashbacks that explain the relationship between the two girls. I doesn’t help that there’s unnecessary dialogue, laughable use of special effects and that the fight’s poorly choreographed.
No matter how you look at it, Chanbara Beauty is a bizarre movie, but it never uses that quality to make something fresh and different. Instead, it relies on clichés, bad special effects, shallow characters and terrible dialogue to make a movie that’s 85 minutes of boredom.