In the past few years, the makers of the Relic Raider films have made great improvements to their product. The first Relic Raider movie was a dull, slow-moving film with lots of errors. Each subsequent film in the series represented an improvement, and by the time the producers made Relic Raider 5 (the best in the series, in my opinion), the Relic Raider films were among the best heroine movies produced by anyone, despite the limited budget.
Relic Raider 7 is a bit of a step backwards. Although it features the usual heroine-movie elements, somehow it fails to come together to match the quality of the best heroine films.
The movie begins with the main character, Simone Baker, asleep on the familiar futon of the Netcode films (I always get a kick out of that, the futon seems to show up in just about every Relic Raider and Super Hero Girls movie). She is apparently having a nightmare (or a flash forward?) in which she visualizes herself tied down with a gas mask over her face, being punched in the stomach, being beaten by a couple of thugs, etc. (I wonder if any of this will happen to Simone as the movie unfolds…?)
She receives a phone call telling her to be somewhere at a certain time. (Where? Why? Who knows?) She soon finds herself fighting two thugs. The producers of the Relic Raider series have gotten much better at staging and filming action scenes over the years, but they still have a long way to go to achieve anything close to believability. Still, the scene is okay, with Simone eventually being overtaken by the bad guys and knocked out with chloroform.
The bad guys take her to their hideout, where another fight breaks out. The action here, again, is totally fake, but when it comes to these films, the question is whether the scene works, and whether the action is good enough. I think it is in this case, as the performers seem dedicated to making it all as believable as it can be. Simone is overpowered and knocked unconscious. The bad guys then take of her shirt and tie her up, leaving her in her bra and jeans (why not?).
The next sequence is an extended belly punching torture session which lasts several minutes. It’s very good, probably the highlight of the film. However, the young woman portraying Simone Baker just isn’t a great actress. She doesn’t appear totally comfortable acting in front of the camera, and this very good scene is prevented from being great as a result. For example, after receiving a belly beating that probably would have destroyed the rib cage of a normal person, Simone instantly recovers to deliver her lines to the bad guys.
While these movies are not believable by any stretch of the imagination, they do require a level of consistency throughout in order to work, and moments like that can ruin the experience. (The Japanese producers of the Zen Pictures and Giga for Freeks (Akiba) films are very good at these things, which is why they appear to dominate the market.)
Still, however flawed, the scene still works somehow, and if you’re into this sort of thing, it’s probably worth the purchase price.
The rest of the movie consists of Simone being brainwashed (via gas mask?) and turned to the dark side, at which point she fights an American-themed superheroine. However, it turns out that Simone is only pretending to be evil, and the two heroines fight the two thugs, defeating them. I found this last sequence to be basically uninteresting. I don’t find it exciting to see a “good” heroine turned to “evil,” although I’m sure there are some viewers out there who do like it. I actually found myself totally uninterested in this last segment of the film, and only finished watching it to complete this review.
I would give Relic Raider 7: The Room of Doom 3 a B-. I think it’s worth the purchase price for the belly punching scenes and because the actress playing the Relic Raider is quite attractive, though lacking talent in the acting department. I hope the producers continue to make these films, as they do seem for the most part to be getting better.