Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.
Zero Woman Returns
The popular Japanese ZERO WOMAN video series centers around the violent, sexually charged adventures of beautiful female operative Rei from the clandestine "Zero Section." While they share much in common thematically, both the character and the actress essaying the part change with each entry, adding a little variety to the predictable scenarios. Saori Ono is cast as Rei this time out, investigating corporate head Hideo Kayama, who is suspected of selling arms and drugs originally confiscated by the police. Ordered to get close to Kayama, Rei gains his confidence first by acting as a courier, and then by helping the man eliminate a Chinese associate out to cheat him. However, it becomes clear to the Zero Section supervisors that Rei is forgetting her mission and becoming romantically involved. Rei also faces peril at the hands of Kayama's homicidally jealous lover.
Saori Ono. Image courtesy Tokyo Shock.
A weak entry in the series, ZERO WOMAN RETURNS is stodgily paced and Yasushi Saisyu (identified as Kyoji Saisyu on the packaging) directs in workmanlike fashion. Ono is not as dynamic or enticing as some of her predecessors and even the raison d'etre sex and violence is pretty blase by Japanese standards. Those enamoured of the series may still find the project worth their time but there is not all that much here to hold the attention of viewers not pre-disposed to this kind of material. Shigemitsu Ogi, Nao Eguchi, Kodan Nanbu, and Makoto Inamiya co-star.