Lady Battle Cop (1990) — Japanese Robocop fights angry psychic

“I will eliminate what is appropriate for this town.”

Justin’s rating: MS-DOS offered a lot of computing power back in those days

Justin’s review: It’s some vague point in the future, and Japan is reeling from an infestation of organized crime from the USA. Known as “The Cartel,” this paramilitary group has already taken over A, B, and C block of Neo Tokyo — and everyone fears that the remainder will fall soon. Who or what can stand up to these heavily armed goons?

If you answered “a tennis pro with zero combat experience,” then you are strangely on the nose. Kaoru Okoshiba (Azusa Nakamura) is a peppy little springflower who loves to give thumbs up and a sunny smile after dominating the courts. Tragedy strikes one day as the Cartel’s Phantom group blows up a police lab — and Kaoru with it. Fortunately, she’s dating a guy who has no compunctions about using her mangled body in an experimental prototype battle suit. And thus… RoboGirl is born!

The police are quite delighted to have an unstoppable weapon of adorable destruction on their side, especially as Lady Battle Cop starts cleaning up the streets with high-powered weapons and array of Inspector Gadget toys. However, she might have met her match in Amadeus, a ‘roid freak with the ability to unleash strong psychic attacks who’s working for the Cartel. But that’s OK, because she’s got… tennis? I’m not sure how this skillset carries over, but neither is the movie, as it’s never mentioned again. Still, it would’ve been AMAZING if she had a robo-racket or something tucked away there.

Yes, obviously Lady Battle Cop is 50% directly ripped off of RoboCop. But this is by a culture that, as a general rule, adores cyborgs with guns. Yet it’s not only RoboCop, because there’s plenty of cyberpunk goodness, early ’90s crime dramas, and a lot of anime inspiration to boot. The whole result is cheesy and fun while not being that great for your body, like a bag of off-brand Cheetos that you found at a flea market. There’s also a hilariously weird theme song which croons “No no no no give up, women were made for tennis, now stand up!”

In that, it has one up on RoboCop.

When Lady Battle Cop herself finally shows up at the 25-minute mark, the movie cuts loose into a revenge thriller with an inevitable showdown. Her design isn’t half-bad, what with all of the bike reflectors slapped onto her chrome suit, although I have to question the purpose of a single dangly earring. Maybe people wouldn’t know she was a woman otherwise?

Unlike her “inspiration,” Lady Battle Cop only wears the suit when she’s not taking gratuitous showers or staring into the camera while flashbacks are taking place. She’s got some minor implants, but by and large her situation isn’t as tragic as Alex Murphy’s. Probably even starts back up her tennis career during the next season.

Is this film good? Not especially. Scenes are held together by discount exposition and a cruddy soundtrack, and RoboGirl herself has no character development to speak of. But it is quite entertaining, because how could a cyborg cop fighting a jacked-up psychotic psychic not be?

Didja notice?

  • “Somewhere, Sometime” is a very vague way to start a movie
  • Is every futuristic Tokyo in movies always “Neo Tokyo?”
  • Large naked guy working out alert
  • Dead people on the stairs? Eh, just run in and don’t call the police
  • The psychic effects are pretty great
  • She’s got mini-missiles in her arms
  • The neutron radiation cannon looks sweet
  • The lead bad guy’s bizarre broken English statements
  • Guy lasered through the head!

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