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Film Review: Zero Woman (2005)

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The Metropolitan Police Department ‘0’section, known as an organization in the police department that investigates a closed case. Well-trained detective in the ’0’ section, Ray, is looking for her memory that was lost during the training, while also investigating a human traffic which young woman being a victim. One day, classified killer virus was seized by rising terrorists. To investigate this case, public safety sent Sarah Kodama who specializes in molecular biology and computer, to work with Ray but Ray refuses to work with Sarah. Sarah was curious about mysterious Ray, she starts to collect Ray’s information and goes to see Ray’s former boss, Asami. However, the man who appeared in front of Sarah was an assassinator who contemplates destruction of ‘0’ section


Zero woman 2005 is the ninth of the ten-part Zero woman series. For those of you who are not familiar with Zero Woman (like me), It is a series of exploitation films chronicling the adventures of Zero Woman (in this particular film played by Maiko Tono), aka Rei, as she works for a fictional Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department secret agency called Zero Division, infiltrating various criminal organizations and generally, as I understand, kicking ass.

Once again, I found myself stumbling into a middle of a franchise without having seen the previous films and with very little knowledge of the series. Luckily for me Zero Woman 2005 work perfectly well as a stand-alone film and I had no trouble keeping up with it’s intricate plotlines.

The film opens with a rather grim scene of human traffickers beating and killing one of their victims. This gave me a bit of a pause for thought and for a brief moment I questioned whether I should be watching this film as the last film before bedtime. While I enjoy a good exploitation films as much as the next girl, I tend to leave the nastier pieces of this particular genre to a different time of day, and not knowing much about the Zero Woman series, I was not quite sure what kind of exploitation was I in for. However, I didn’t have to be nervous for long. Within the first few minutes Zero Woman enters and saves the day with her amazing ass kicking abilities. This reassured me that I was going to be watching hour and a half of complete silliness rather than something that would leave me feeling sickly for the rest of the evening.  Hooray for that!

And hooray for the makers of Zero Woman 2005! What a fantastic little exploitation romp it turned out to be.  Now however a warning, I usually try avoid putting spoilers into my reviews, but I found it quite hard to write about a film like this without going to at least some detail about its plot twists. So, if you don’t want the plot to be spoiled, stop reading now!

So, in this part of the series, Rei is investigating a case of a kidnapped scientist and a missing killer virus. To help her with her case, Rei gets assigned a new partner; super enthusiastic Sara Kodama (Megumi Yamanaka) whose specialities just happen to be molecular biology and computers. Soon the two women track down a rising terrorist group behind these evil crimes. Although, it has to be mentioned that it’s not so much to do with the dynamic duos investigative work as it is to do with the fact that these are quite possibly the worst terrorists in the whole world. First of all, they very freely announce in public media their wicked plans to infect and kill 90% of Japans population with the stolen virus and even go as far as to tell where and when this mass killing is going to start. Not a super brilliant strategy if you ask me, but what do I know, I am not a terrorist. Secondly, their getaway vehicles are all quite freely registered under the terrorist’s real names, so it does not take the Zero Division too long to conclude where these criminal masterminds might be hiding and for Rei to single-handedly kick all of their asses (as they are also terrible in combat, just terrible.).  You do also have to question Zero Divisions capabilities as a law enforcement agency, as they only send two women (one of them not even an agent) to take down a whole group of terrorists, but luckily this isn’t a too much of a problem, as mentioned above.

Of course, this is not the whole story and behind the scenes lurks even bigger villain.  This is where some knowledge of the previous films might have come slightly handy, as the evil genius behind it all happens to be Reis old boss Mr. Asami and the nature of his and Reis relationship (beyond employer-employee) was left somewhat hazy to me. Mr. Asami obviously has had something to do with Reis missing memories, but I am not quite sure what, as this isn’t fully explained, only hinted at and there also seems to be some kind of weird sexual component to their dynamic, but this is also left unclear to a newbie viewer. None of this really matters though, as none of those little details have very much to do with the actual plot. Anyhow, much like the fearsome terrorists, Mr. Asami is also not quite the criminal mastermind he thinks he is. While he seems to skilled at manipulating terrorists, his bigger picture plan of manipulating stock markets, is not quite as well thought out as he might think. In fact, I’m going to go right ahead and call it what it is: idiotic. However, in little details like this is where the charm of films like Zero woman lies.

Like any self-respecting exploitation film, Zero Woman 2005 has pretty terrible production values.  From the picture quality it looks a lot older than it actually is and the camera work is shoddy at best. The editor seems to have also gone a bit nuts with different swipes and multi-screen options, like a student playing with an editing software for the first time. I was almost expecting to see a good old star-swipe thrown in there just for good measure. Acting is terrible all around, from the good people of Zero Division to the mysterious assassin who only speaks in English one liners. The fight scenes are not that much better. Some work has gone into them as they are not simply a bunch of uncoordinated people trashing about but will still most likely bring a slight smile to your face with their sympathetic clumsiness.

If you ask me, Zero Woman 2005 has pretty much all the elements you could want in this type of exploitation film; bad acting, terrible special effects, cheesy dialogue and most importantly, a preposterous plot with holes so big that an elephant could fit through them. Watching it accompanied by a few beers will surely only enhance the experience. It’s a good laugh and an excellent choice if you are in a mood for some light-hearted exploitation.

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