Sunday, October 11, 2015

Psycho Gothic Lolita

Well, because the title, that's why.
As the trailer for Psycho Gothic Lolita announces: "Beauty, modeling and action! The core of Japanese films all in one!" There's also a goodly bit of splatter. Also known as Gothic & Lolita Psycho, it's a fast-moving series of fight scenes, punctuated with gallons of fake blood, none of which gets on our heroine's fabulous outfit.
 Basically the story is that Psycho Gothic Lolita's mom was murdered and her dad (who is apparently a priest) was paralyzed by some gang in black trenchcoats and now, of course, she is out for vengeance. I don't think we ever find out why the killed her family and there is an absurd twist at the end that would make even M. Night Shyamalan say, "That shit was contrived and unnecessary," but what kind of fool watches something called Psycho Gothic Lolita for the plot?
Our heroine has five people she needs to off in order to even the score for mom--each one is represented by a tarot-style card, a device that, like so many things in Psycho Gothic Lolita, remains unexplained. Her father, who is now in a wheelchair, is her Q and builds her a number of interesting umbrella-based weapons but we have no idea why she has to dress up in Gothic Lolita drag to get revenge--in the (tedious, overused) flashbacks, she is conventionally attired
As our Psycho Gothic Lolita, Rina Akiyama looks great, but isn't much in the charisma department: Not so much implacable killing machine as a outfit and a gimmick with a catchphrase that doesn't make sense. Although it is a hell of an outfit--love the umbrella-styled sleeves and laced-up skirt even if the Marie Antoinette via Michaels hairdo doesn't really do it for me. Also, i know it's all about consistency, but I wish she'd had one or two more outfits. The movie is about fashion, so give me some costume changes, dammit!
It also feels like they missed some opportunities with her opponents. Her biggest adversary, Elle, is in Gyaru style with pink lipgloss and a TLC-style eyepatch, as well as a pair of knife/guns, one of which has a built-in cellphone. (Wait--Elle with an eyepatch and guns? Well, I guess it's nice to see someone stealing from Tarantino for a change.) But the rest of the folks she battles are a sort of random assortment--if we're here for fashion, every one of them should have been some kind of Tokyo street style stereotype. She should have had to take on a Kogal schoolgirl or some Fairy Kei bitch in a Care Bears T-shirt and pastel fake fur.
There is one brilliant scene where she runs into "KAMIKAZE," a ridiculous bunch of Westerners that are half-Karate Kid, half-West Side Story and completely hilarious. Psycho Gothic Lolita ain't no Sex and Fury and it ain't no Heroic Trio. Hell, it's not even Tokyo Gore Police. But it does have its moments.

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