|Early RoboCop prototype (left)|
Space Sheriff Gavan (right)
Rob Bottin was tasked with creating the design of RoboCop, which originally was intended to be a pretty obvious reworking of Judge Dredd. Interestingly, as tokusatsu fans could have told you, the second RoboCop design was inspired by the title character of Toei's 1978 Japanese TV series "Space Sheriff Gavan". Because of this connection, it's rather amusing to see things come full circle with this Toei DTV ROBOCOP knock-off LADY BATTLE COP.
Set in the not too distant future, or as the film tells us "sometime... somewhere...", Neo Tokyo has fallen into a rubble and burn-barrel littered chaos of drunks, prostitutes and syndicate killers. According to the Neo Tokyo news, the latest virus to spread from the United States is a new arm of the Cartel, an organized crime outfit that has arms across the globe, but you know is American because they have one black guy working for them.
Opening in a bar full of punks dancing to bad metal, two groups of tailored suit clad Yakuza are about to draw down on each other when a group of camo-clad militants with automatic weapons burst in and blow the living crap out of everyone. Even the liquor bottles aren't safe! The head of the Cartel's cap-busting subdivision is known as Phantom (Masashi Ishibashi recognizable from a dozen Sonny Chiba films and a couple of "Kamen Rider" series) lets one member of each gang live however, so that they can send a message back to their bosses: "From now on, this town will be under the control of the Cartel! Senseless fights won't be allowed anymore!" Damn straight! Senseless fighting is bad, senseless killing is just fine. It's an important distinction, I guess.
Captain Coldyron!). The project is so hush-hush that even the audience can't be allowed to know any of the details, except that the project is in the last stages of completion and all they need is someone to donate their body in order to finish the project.
While walking home from the club through a dirt street filled with homeless, drunks and a staggering number of hookers who are clearly pleased to see a man in a suit and tie, Phantom and his men corner him among some conveniently placed boxes and barrels and just before they kill him RoboChick comes to his aid! Presumably she was in the neighborhood to show the prostitutes how to attract Japanese men - cybernetics are hawt! Unfortunately for them, Phantom brought along Amadeus to compose a symphony of death (note this line is not actually used in the movie, but should have been)! Amadeus' main power, aside from appearing to have an aneurysm every time he sees our fetching fembot, is hurling I-beams via telekinesis. Apparently all of the drunks have dropped them while reaching for the bottle, so there are always plenty to be found.
Now it's time for all out war between Phantom and Battle Cop in several abandoned factories and warehouses. Of course in spite of the refusal to allow both the laser and Amadeus to be used by Phantom at the same time, you know he has to show up again for a final battle.
Even with its flaws, the film has enough low-budget entertainment value to warrant a visit, and if you dig tokusatsu stuff, you'll definitely want to give it a spin when in a forgiving state of mind.