I wish I knew how to quit you, Zen Pictures! You make the best movies about heroines in peril, and you deliver the goods consistently while also experimenting every once in a while to try new things, as you do in The Masked Seductive Heroine, which stars one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the computer monitor.
Our story begins in a nice, cozy restaurant which happens to employ a young woman who is by far the hottest waitress ever to deliver a tray of temakizushi. The restaurant owners, probably as a result of the worldwide economic calamity, have clearly decided to sex up the place by forcing their mousy waitress to wear thigh-high white stockings along with her bright pink apron. Fans of the fine dining establishment “Hooters” might disagree with me, but this is how you add sex appeal to a restaurant. The next time I’m Japan on business, I’m going to stop by this restaurant and praise the owners for this wise decision. (The waitress, by the way, is played by the amazing, beautiful and talented Yui Aikawa, who also happens to be the lead heroine of this film.)
Meanwhile, the bad guys sit in a smoke-filled room which is decorated, for some reason, with prison bars (kind of like my bedroom). There’s also a lot of exposed pipes. And a bartender. Come to think of it, what the hell is this place? Anyway, the bad guys are plotting to take over the restaurant and evict the owners. I only know this because I read it in the story description on the Zen Pictures web site. They pay a visit to the restaurant and act really creepy. One thug tries to put the moves on poor Aikawa. Another complains about the food and spits water all over the place. (Basically, they act like the average American restaurant goer.)
When they starting beating the crap out of the busboy, that’s when they’ve gone too far. Aikawa steps in to try to break up the ensuing fight and gets slapped across the face. She retreats to the kitchen, grabs a frying pan to use as a weapon, and then comes up with the most brilliant idea since Reaganomics™—she strips down to an incredibly sexy costume, including a tiny bright red bikini, matching gloves and cape, a cowboy hat and boots, and starts performing a sexy dance in slow motion. This is much more exciting than that lame frying pan idea. Job well done, Ms. Aikawa.
She proceeds to slap the bad guys around, easily defeating them in a very brief fight scene. The main bad dude walks out the front door while the restaurant patrons and staff thank Aikawa, who replies, in English, “My name is Masked (something), if in trouble, please call me again!” (According to Zen Pictures, her name is Tempting Mask, but I’m not able to understand her pronunciation of her name in English.) She walks out the door while her bosses are probably thinking, “Where the hell are you going? Put some clothes back on and get to work!” Back at their evil headquarters, the bad guys torture the middle-aged restaurant cook for information about the identity and whereabouts of Tempting Mask. They punch and kick him in the stomach and face for quite a while. (For some reason, there’s a lot of male-on-male torture in this movie. Not exactly my cup of tea, particularly in a movie starring possibly the most attractive woman in the history of the world.)
Just in the nick of time, Tempting Mask appears and orders a drink at the bar (I still have no idea why there’s a bar in the bad guys’ hideout, but I guess it’s a luxury evildoers can afford). The bad guys watch helplessly as Tempting Mask uses her one and only superpower: sexy dancing. Her body oozes along with generic hip-hop music, and the bad guys totally forget who and where they are (I’m experiencing the same thing gazing at the simply delectable body of Yui Aikawa). Eventually, the bad guys are reduced to just making grunting sounds while Aikawa undulates to the music. Just then, Tempting Mask delivers a swift, powerful kick that takes out both henchmen. She frees the restaurant cook and the two start to make their escape before they’re interrupted by off-screen evil laughter (never a good sign).
Some new bad guys walk in and fight Tempting Mask but are easily defeated… until the big pro wrestler villain from the Zen/Giga oeuvre arrives and starts choking our heroine. Eventually (after a very, very long scene where the bad guy’s face is trapped betwixt her legs), Ms. Mask is able to defeat her opponent. She even says, “Game over,” before crushing his skull with her knee. Unfortunately, though, the bad guys have taken her boyfriend/brother hostage, so she’s forced to surrender.
The next scene is really great for fans of AOH torture—it’s a several-minute long scene in which the scantily clad heroine is suspended from the ceiling by chains and punched and kicked in super slow motion. If Aikawa had anything less than a superb, perfect body, this scene might have come across as tedious or unnecessarily stylish, but as it is, this torture sequence becomes kind of extraordinary—Aikawa’s acting is great, the punches seem to have real impact (thanks in part to the sounds effects), and the whole thing is really well executed.
I’ve never really seen a sequence like this before, and this is one reason I love Zen Pictures so much. They’re always willing to try something new. I think this works really well, and if you’re a fan of this kind of content, you really have to see this movie. (Don’t worry; there’s some regular-motion torture in this scene too, and a de-masking.)
After the lengthy torture scene, the white-coated gentleman who appeared to be evil in the beginning, arrives and saves the day. I guess he was an undercover cop. Or something. Who cares? The movie basically ends there, with all of the good characters living happily ever after, and I guess with Tempting Mask returning to her waitressing job. But I’ll bet nobody will ever mess with her again, knowing that she keeps in her locker a red bikini/cowgirl outfit and has the ability to daze men with her dancing abilities if they ever think about causing trouble.
So, my final verdict is that Zen Pictures’ Masked Seductive Heroine is well worth the purchase price because of the absurdly beautiful Yui Aikawa and her equally absurd costume, which provides about 10% body coverage. The AOH torture scene is really great, particularly because of its use of slow motion, and Aikawa’s acting is top notch. There are a few things I don’t care for in this film (the very long and tedious choking and face-sitting sequence, which will probably delight viewers who crave that sort of thing, and the male-on-male torture), and I would have liked more fight scenes, but this is still a great Zen Pictures film, and I highly recommend it.