Yo-Yo Girl Cop (Sukeban Deka: Kôdo nêmu = Asamiya Saki) (2006)

7JT1H4lI’ll plead ignorance in claiming that I don’t know if “Yo Yo Girl Cop” was either an anime or manga (the latter, actually), because after reading the description of the back of the movie case, this apparently is a revamping of a prior mythos where the former Yo Yo Girl Cop’s daughter is now taking the role of crime fighter. It’s a movie filled with girl cops who fight crime not with guns, clubs, or sticks, but with metal yo yo’s that smack the crap out of assailants; I mean how could I not have risked buying it without viewing it?

A concept this original has to be witnessed and I took a risk. Hey, sometimes being adventurous with your money can benefit you in the end. For a movie about a girl who fights crime with a yo yo, “Yo Yo Girl Cop” is surprisingly very good. It’s not just the original concept that works for it, but the way the story is composed that keeps the film from becoming a C grade camp fest, and firmly places it in a more stern tone, with the yo yo becoming more of a weapon and less of a plot gimmick. What also benefits the film is the strong performance from Atsa Matsuura, who is quite memorable as the new Yo Yo Girl Cop. Her hero origin is typical, but nonetheless entertaining, as she’s forced to work as an agent at the ransom of her mother.

Fukasaku’s film explores an awfully entertaining crime ring involving suicide bombers, and bullied school children, all the while presenting Asamiya as a consistently complex, and just heroine forced to take on a mission bigger than she realizes. “Yo Yo Girl Cop” will likely achieve brief cult status, and it will earn that status thanks to its entertaining story and villains. One of the major disappointments for this film is that for something called “Yo Yo Girl Cop,” there’s surprisingly very little yo yoing to be had. In fact, there’s little to no yo yos seen for at least an hour, unless you count one scene meant more for comedy purposes.

It’s sad that a movie that boasts about a crime fighter with a yo yo really just doesn’t have what you’d expect in terms of the title. There’s very little fight sequences, there’s not much creative play with an actual yo yo, and until the last forty-five minutes, there’s not a single yo yo in sight. It’s a shame that such a major lure for me, would be rather conspicuously missing from the actual plot. For a movie named “Yo Yo Girl Cop,” this is a film that also takes itself much too seriously. Much of the movie is played with an utter straight face and deals more in a suicide bomber cult, and social politics in school, along with Asamiya trying to endure bullying.

There’s nothing really too fantastical and the expectations are sadly never met, here. I wanted a higher dose of camp, and more of a cop kicking ass with a metal yo yo, instead I received a much more dramatic crime actioner, with barely anything resembling a yo yo for at least ninety minutes. I’m surprised that a Japanese action film named “Yo Yo Girl Cop” would approach itself with such a straight face, but lo and behold, it takes itself much too seriously with very little yo yo action to be had. That’s thankfully salvaged though by the strong performance by Aya Matsuura, and the fascinating mystery.