[Cross-posted on the Bad Movie Night Facebook page.]
I don't think we've ever watched a bad foreign film that wasn't dubbed before. "Don't Torture A Duckling" was an Italian movie that was clearly originally in Italian and then dubbed and "The Seven Magnificent Gladiators" was an Italian production that was, I think, always meant to be in English (also, at the time it was made, all Italian films were dubbed for cost reasons). This movie, though, marks our first subtitled bad movie which does lead to questions like, "Do we not understand the plot because the subs are bad?" Luckily, Kay minored in Japanese and can vouch for the fact that, no, the subtitles are not the problem. It's the movie.
After a particularly dynamic opening in which four teenage girls attack some suited dudes with a suitcase, at one point using what can only be described as a literal "booby trap" in the form of a bra insert that releases gas, we get what passes for a backstory. Our main character of the four girls, Yuki, talks about how she went to a dance school on the southern island she's from where she and her three comrades were drafted for the elite program. The program consisted of learning to fight and read coded messages in the dances of a popstar named Cocoe in order to ultimately bring down the "government" and maintain the "independence of the kingdom". We never get any real detail into this political conflict aside from what we can infer. It's not clear whether this is a futuristic dystopia or an alternate history. There might even be some kind of small reference to the poor treatment of Koreans living in Japan by the Japanese but that could be reading too much into it. Either way, Yuki's motivations for becoming part of the resistance seem to be that she was born during a riot and her mom was killed by a falling bolt from a military plane (which she dug out of her mom's skull and wears around her neck). During a series of missions, all of Yuki's comrades die, she is saved by the humorously floating ghost of her mom, and her former neighbor who's protecting her also dies. She finds out everyone at the dance school was captured and she goes to where they're held, managing only to save Cocoe who she sends floating away down the river while she fights, presumably to her death.
Amid fight scenes and dance scenes, there is some weirdness to be had here. Occasionally there are really rapid camera movements that Adam pointed out, "would be scary if this was a David Lynch movie but they're just funny here." Also, at one point a duck is swimming down the river and it turns out to be a guy in scuba gear with a duck on his head. It is nuts.
Spoon Rating: 6.
Adam's Grandma's Review: "I liked the dancing."