Cool Dimension (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Three hot women in tight leather outfits live as assassins as they hunt down a man wanted by someone in high political power.

What They Say
Kidnapped in childhood. Raised as an assassin. Shiori's spent her entire life following the orders of her mysterious masters, never questioning the commands that have sentenced hundreds to die at her hands. But when a childhood memory suddenly resurfaces, the programming in her head is short circuited and her entire world is turned upside down!

Now, before her masters realize she's slipped their leash, Shiori has to escape. But to do so means she must kill again... even the ones who are close to her!

The Review!
Audio:
Cool Dimension is the first live action release from Sentai Filmworks and it has a bit more of a proper theatrical feel to it if only because it’s merited a 5.1 language mix in its original Japanese. The track, encoded at 448kbps, isn’t exactly all that exhaustive or deep but it has a better feeling and a better sense of placement than a lot of the stereo mixes for live action features we’ve seen out of Japan. No English language track is included, which isn’t a surprise, but the Japanese track does a good job overall and captures the film as it was originally presented. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2006, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The feature definitely has the shot on video look to it and some of the CG that they use for the backgrounds really looks badly done. Cool Dimension takes place mostly indoors and with some poorly lit areas so there’s a fair bit of grain in a lot of places. The dark areas tend to look good when they’re real, but the CG stuff introduces a fair amount of banding at times. This isn’t a bad looking piece but it has that done on a budget feel to it but just a little bit better than that.

Packaging:
The cover for this release is certainly attractive as it has Shiori kneeling in her tight red leather outfit, which has been punched up a bit with its vibrancy, set against a black and red background. Toss in some weapons at an angle and the “Innocent Assassin” tagline and it’s an eye-catching piece in its simplicity and approach. The back cover introduces the other two women in their tight black outfits with more of the red and oranges for the background. This area has more of a sense of menace to it than the front does. The summary goes over things pretty well since there’s not much here and the shots from the feature look decent. The remainder of the cover is given over to the basic production information and a solid technical grid that covers everything cleanly. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
None.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Cool Dimension is the first live action feature from Sentai Filmworks to be released and it’s a little hard to figure out why other than being a cheap pick-up from Geneon Entertainment. It really doesn’t differ all that much from what Switchblade Pictures is doing, unless it’s just a Japanese-label kind of thing where Sentai doesn’t want to do “pinky” style films. Cool Dimension probably doesn’t count as a pinky film but it does include one completely useless sex scene which makes me wonder what it’s really classified as.

The premise of the movie is fairly simple as it works on the Charlie’s Angel’s theme by having three young women who are working for a mysterious man through another man. The difference is that these women are assassins for hire and they’ve been doing it since a young age when they were kidnapped and raised to do it. All three are very skilled fighters and they have a certain grace and brutality to them as they carry out their missions. The opening shows Shiori, ostensibly the lead of the three since she’s in red and the others are in black, going through a bunch of goons before she takes out a Secretary who has been targeted for assassination. It’s a surprisingly fast piece and it’s nicely choreographed, at least in comparison to the numerous pinky films I’ve seen recently.

Where the bulk of the film focuses is on the latest mission that the women have been assigned. A high ranking and very powerful politician has a thorn in his side that needs to be dealt with, a man named Muraoka. Muraoka has disappeared recently and it turns out he has some very bad dirt on this politician so he wants him eliminated. This has Shiori following the only lead they have of his apparent girlfriend. She ends up taking a job at the magazine office where she works as a new rookie reporter, though this has her thrown in with a senior reporter for awhile which is a plot that goes absolutely nowhere in the end. All of this is done for Shiori to get to know the women a bit and to get something more on Muraoka.

The story then starts to explore what has Muraoka going down this route and his motivations as Shiori eventually finds him but then lets him go. Her motivations are suspect now as well since she’s been raised one way but is questioning everything, especially since she’s forgotten how many people she’s killed over all this time. There are some minor twists and turns along the way, but Cool Dimension does keep things simple overall and rather straightforward. Nothing really jumps out as a surprise here, but it does play it a bit more violently than you’d expect at first. When you see a character that you think will be key to things suddenly get tossed out of a van, you think she’s unconscious, not dead. You’d be wrong and it just feels like a senseless piece of the puzzle in the grand scheme of things.

In Summary:
Cool Dimension isn’t a bad choice for the Sentai Filmworks label but it is one of those choices that has you asking why. The feature is notable only for the fact it has attractive young Japanese women in tight leather outfits. The story itself is by the numbers, though the action is surprisingly well choreographed, and very little stands out otherwise. It has some decent production values, especially since it doesn’t take place in run down sets or in cramped little areas but rather throughout Tokyo itself. In the end, Cool Dimension has a couple of cool and sexy moments to it, but it’s likely to be fairly forgettable otherwise unless you’re a fan of one of the actresses.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 14 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
MSRP: 19.99
Running time: 72
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Cool Dimension