With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

IRON GIRL is now available on DVD from Switchblade Pictures

Switchblade Pictures
Iron Girl / Aian Gâru
Directed by Masatoshi Nagamine
Starring Kirara Asuka
Japan, 2012, 92 minutes

On a lovely day in an unspecified era, Anne (Rina Akiyama) gathers some flowers. Unfortunately for her, they only place flowers grow is in District Alpha 109. It's an area controlled by a gang known as the Crazy Dogs, and three male members of the gang attack her. Fortunately, there happens to be one hard-as-nails female avenger who witnesses the attack, intervenes, and puts the hurt on the trio of assailants, thereby saving Anne. This is Iron Girl (Kiara Asuka). She sports an outfit that is every bit as hot as her fighting skills are awesome.

Her outfit may not be as well-equipped as Tony Stark's, but Iron Girl sure does fill it out nicely.

She accompanies Anne back to her "village," which is little more than an abandoned factory. There Wataru, who has a thing for Anne, refuses to believe that Iron Girl bested three of the Crazy Dogs. Other villagers are fearful that the gang, which periodically terrorizes them anyway, will come down hard on the villagers, seeking revenge for their humiliating defeat. On the other hand, the village Elder -- the only adult in evidence -- believes that Iron Girl is the "iron savior" foretold in ancient documents. For her part, Iron Girl has no memories of her past and believes that her only reason is to fight.

Crazy Joe, in black jacket and fur

When the Crazy Dogs return in force, she has plenty of opportunity to do so, especially when Crazy Joe (Mitsuki Koga), their leader, appears. He's evil personified: greedy, brutal and powerful. He also wears women's make-up, which leads Iron Girl to call him a "powerful faggot." (Viewer are advised to hold in check any political correctness they may possess before hitting the "Play" button on their DVD player.)

Love those crotch-shot kicks!

Kiara Asuka is quite good as Iron Girl. She convincingly pulls off the action scenes, for which action director Takanori Shibahara deserves a lot of credit. He has her doing a variety of kicks including low sweeps, straight-at-yous, & roundhouses, and some nice wire-work, some of which utilized an 80 foot crane. Asuka, who had never done an action film before, was initially nervous about doing wire-work, but came to like it. Personally I liked that she fought using the principles of Tai Chi Chuan and Akido by which one evades an attack rather than confronting it head on. This style makes sense for a female fighter who can't match male opponents in terms of size and strength.

Kiara Asuka displays two of her and Iron Girl's finest assets.

Having never heard of her, I did some research on Asuka and was rather surprised to learn that she's a Japanese AV (Adult Video) Idol, what we here in the States would colloquially call a porn star. Japan is one of the few countries I know of where female porn actresses can also have careers in non-porn films, although a bit of nudity often accompanies the transition. (Sora, a.k.a., Sola, Aoi is another such actress.) Asuka, it should be mentioned, is the only actress who shows skin in the film, but hers is quite enough.

A scene in the "making of" featurette shows the filming of the preceding image.

In addition to the feature, the DVD includes:
- The Japanese trailer
- "The Making of Iron Girl" - a remarkably good featurette
- Trailers for other offerings from Switchblade Pictures
- Disc Credits

While there is no "Settings" option, the English subtitles can be removed by using the "Subtitles" option on your player or computer. That's how I took the various screen captures seen in this review.

There is a place or two where the dialogue bogs the film down a bit, but overall Iron Girl is a very satisfying, sexploitation action flick.  I was impressed by it. The ending definitely allows for a sequel and I for one am hoping that there'll be one.

ACF Rating for Iron Girl: 3 out of 4 stars, solidly recommended.