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3.3 out of 5 stars
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3.3 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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on 3 November 2009
Lets be honest, I wanted to see this because the premise of seeing scantly clad Japanese girls wielding samurai swords and kicking the holy hell out of Zombies was just one I couldn't resist. So things like a good script or intriguing plot didn't really rate high on my agenda of things I was expecting from this Japanese exploitation flick. So I was pleasantly surprised by how apart from the eye candy, this film delivers on plot and even manages moments of real feeling and suspense. The fight scenes are good and although the CGI effects are of a poor standard. It doesn't seem to matter when you have sexy samurai girls glowing with red and blue energy, hurling fireballs here, there and everywhere with magic swords. It's all very silly, but ever so enjoyable.
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For some reason I've spent a bit of time watching zombie films of late, and while the likes of Evil Dead II (classic horror comedy) and 28 Days Later (modern fast zombies) are genuinely excellent films - most others are pretty lame. Chanbara Beauty sits comfortably in the seemingly popular 'scantily clad women - and zombies' sub-genre of horror movies which are ever popular these days. It's certainly not a cinematic classic, but it's not the worse zombie flick either.

There's little in the way of originality here but it would be unfair to say that the film doesn't make an effort. In places it looks impressive and for every bad fight scene there's a decent one, there's also a semi-compelling plot involving two sisters who eventually must fight each other. Chanbara Beauty is based on a series of video games and game-to-big-screen translations are rarely successful, but here the film manages to break free from its console origins and it works as a standalone film - as long as you don't expect too much.

Gore fans will appreciate the spatters of blood but won't see anything new other than a seemingly magic sword which glows when swung (surely a nod to the video-game heritage), and the zombie effects aren't very convincing with computer generated blood looking a bit too fake and the make-up appearing a tad amateur. If you look at this as a studio production it's a poor effort, but think of this as a piece of fan fuelled amateur work and you can't help but buy into it and enjoy it on some level. The basic premise is explained and is actually pretty plausable (compared to other zombie films) with the undead state being caused by a virus which was initially seen as a cure for, well ...death! It's not very scary though, and those wanting a viewing experience leaving them on the edge of their seats may feel a bit let down.

In a nutshell: This is a low budget Japanese film, and instead of exploring creative ways to maximise the budget as Sam Raimi did back in the early 'eighties, it relies on semi-impressive martial arts, dodgy CGI effects, and women wearing leather and fluffy bras. I was going to give this 2 stars but it doesn't compare too badly compared to other similar films (the dire Zombie Strippers an example!) and so I'll sick my neck out it give this 3.
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on 18 February 2016
Lovers of Japanese excess will love this, an enjoyable film and a break from the miserable zombie movies churned out non-stop in Hollywood. Basics of the story are a bad ass ninja style girl, who inexplicably fights in a bikini, slashes her way through zombies trying to find her sister. She is followed by a useless sidekick to act as her Jimminy Cricket and prevent her becoming completely detached from her feelings.
they meet up with another zombie slaughterer, a leather clad biker with a gun that never seems to need fresh ammo.......who is on a quest for revenge and teams up with the bikini girl towards the same goals.
It has all the things you'd associate with the OTT martial arts films, including the climactic end battle. All in all a good film if you like the genre & want to switch off for an hour & half.
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on 14 September 2010
I know what you're thinking; zombies! Samurai swords! Chick in a furry bikini! Lets click the buy button right now! But hold on a minute, this film has all the above, but not in a good way. BAD SCRIPT, BAD ACTING, BAD ACTION, BAD SPECIAL EFFECTS (honestly, Dr Who had better effects in the 70s) Its just plain BAD! Avoid this turkey at all costs!
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on 24 April 2012
If you love Japanese movies then this is a must own. The action does not stop right from the beginning, full of over the top violence and gory zombie fight scenes and extremely hot japanese actresses including Eri Otoguro as Aya as the lead role. For a low budget film it's brilliant and you certainly get your moneys worth. The fight scene at the end is awesome!! must own!
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on 10 July 2012
Based on the Onechanbara video game, which I'll admit I've not played. Chanbara Beauty tells of how the whole world is now zombie infested and the man responsible for this mess is one, Dr Sugita.

In this zombie infested world is a woman named Aya, who armed only with a sword, a portly sidekick and a rather fetching overcoat and bikini combo is out to slay the undead. Aya is looking for her missing sister Saki and no zombie is going to get in her way.
On her journey she meets the leather-clad, gun-wielding Reiko, who is searching for Dr Sugita and believes that Saki may be with him.

Cgi blood flies and splatters onto the screen as Aya slices up the zombie hordes but once the first sequence is done with the whole thing just becomes a little tiresome. The fight scenes are ok but other than that I found myself getting bored with the whole thing.

At first I found myself enjoying this as it looked like it was going to fall into the `so bad it's good' category as I was getting a kick out of the cheapness of it and some of the low budget moments were kind of fun. Aya's arm tattoo was on obviously fake adhesive that had started to come loose and Dr Sugita's `syringe' was one of the cheapest, most poorly made props I've seen in a long while.

The problem is that somehow the film just isn't that enjoyable. I love low budget films, Japanese cinema and of course (as I've mentioned) this is about an attractive, bikini-clad swordswoman chopping up zombies. I mean what's not to love? Yet somehow this doesn't work.
There's no major flaws with the film as such but it doesn't feel like any passion went into making it and all its little failings combine to make the movie just feel tired.

It's a real shame as all the ingredients are there for a great, fun little film and yet I just didn't enjoy watching it. I think part of the problem with it was that it just reminded me of better zombie or Japanese splatter films I would rather be watching instead.

I'm sure some people will enjoy it but I think that this is a definite `try before you buy' as it won't be to everyone's taste.
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on 29 June 2013
I loved this movie, the acting it was sometimes a bit off but it was just funny as hell and the fighting scenes and effects. Probably a bit much for everyone else but I really enjoyed it :)
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on 6 November 2014
As the cover says babes bikinis and blades. It kills 90 mins but don't expect more.
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on 20 September 2009
The good news is the film is better then the game it is based on, now theres a first! I tired the game (Onechanbara) before watching this film and I couldn't get into it. It just seemed 1996 to me, both by way of game play and graphics. I only played on it once and the next day I put it on "Amazon Marketplace", a truly dreadful game! So, I wasn't looking forward to watching the film, but for under eight pounds on "Amazon" it was too good to miss, and being a big zombie film fan helped too! And so I took a chance on the film version and I'm glad I did, because its a really good film!

Like the game, there isn't much of a storyline as such. But don't let that stop you investing your veiwing time, because there is a lot on screen to get your teeth into!

The story goes a little like this: Tokyo is a wash with a zombie virus engineered by a mad scientist, who's hell bent on becoming a god by wiping out the human race. But there is hope for mankind in the shape of a bikini wearing zombie slaying, lady warrior, Aya (Eri Otoguro). Aya is on a mission, not only to slay any zombie that cross her path, but to avenge her fathers death and to find her long lost sistor Saki (Chise Nakamura), who may have something to do with their fathers death. On her pursuit for vengeance, Aya cross paths with a gun-toting lather chick Reiko (Manami Hashimoto), who happens to know where to locate Aya's sister. Reiko agrees to share this information with Aya on one condition, she assists her on her own personal mission. Can Aya and Reiko save Tokyo from the dead and survive, will they find eternal peace within? One thing is for sure, they'll raise hell trying!

It's the acting that make this film shine, Eri Otoguro is excellent as Aya. Both a beautiful women and a gifted actress, she gives her role a grounded and realistic base. Her acting is so natural you almost forget shes wearing a bikini for the entire film, and thats some feat, because like I said shes a really beautiful woman. The same can be said of Manadmi Hashimoto as Reiko, she brings a toughness and a maternal sensibility to her role and proving shes more then a pretty face. Chise Nakamura as Aya's cold hearted sister, also brought a certain believably and warmth to the character of Saki. Even the actors playing the zombies are good, not great!, but believable in the classic "Dawn of the Dead" kind of way.

The action on screen is also enjoyable, although theres nothing we haven't seen before, but its still engaging and satisfying. My best scenes being, when Aya and Reiko single-handedly take on a fort full of zombles and the sisters heartfelt final battle.

The only thing I felt let the look of the film down was the over use of CG, it just made the film look cheap. And the rose tattoo on Aya's arm appears to be too fake, it looks shiny and can be seen peeling on her arm throughout the whole film, very distracting! But as straight to DVD films go, the costumes, the special effects and the look and feel of the film are very successful and convincing.

The extras are: a interesting thirty five minute making of documentary and a two minute tailer.

If your a fan of the game, or like movies such as "Dead or Alive", or even if your looking for a good action film, then "Chanbara Beauty" is for you!
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on 8 January 2011
This film is a game,(Chechanbara bekini samurai squad), to live action film. It has some nice touches from the game such as the blood splatter on the screen, wiping of the blade, getting power from the blood and also rage mode with is very prominent at the end of the film. All of this will go over the people who havn't played the game and this would make these parts of the film not really make any sense but it can still be enjoyed by anybody if they like bikini clad samurai girls killing the undead.
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