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March 18th, 2002 Issue #100a

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
(1998; Leed Comic / Vision Sugimoto / Wani Books / Maxam)

Cover art courtesy Tokyo Shock.

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended


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.

DVD Specs:

Tokyo Shock / Media Blasters #TSDVD-0202 (U.S. Label)
Dolby Digital 2.0
Original Japanese and Dubbed English Language Tracks
Optional English Subtitles
14 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Stills
Letterboxed (1.88:1)
Coded for Region 1 Only
87 Minutes (time includes a new English end credit crawl)
Contains brutal violence, nudity, and moderate sexual content

DVD menu courtesy Tokyo Shock.

Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice



ZERO WOMAN RETURNS was shot on digital video and looks quite nice, aside from a few brief sequences that sport some grain and light blacks. The sound mix is basic and not very dynamic, though preferable to the monaural English track the disc defaults to (the dubbing team includes DAY OF THE DEAD star Joe Pilato, who does the voice of Rei's Zero superior). The track stays fairly close to the subtitle translation but is pedestrian at best and not worth choosing. Video promo trailers for PRISONER MARIA: THE MOVIE, WILD CRIMINAL, BLOOD, and SCORE are offered as extras.

is available at Poker Industries.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

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