3 out of 5
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Miike’s first released film, second directed film. That is why you’re watching this. …Which isn’t to say it’s all that bad, equating to an average 80s afternoon USA softcore action fluff that leaves more of a positive impression than not, and certainly displays an early competence behind the camera for its eventually renowned director.
‘Eyecatch Junction’ is the name a lead trio of female officers give their secret police club – something something since they ‘catch’ eyes for their looks – when they decide to user their gymnastics meetup as a cover for their clandestine investigations. While it’s not really delved into, the implication is that the women are considered the joke of the precinct due to gender alone – fawned over with anime style nosebleeds – and not given the big cases as a result. As Eyecatch Junction, they stumble into a prostitution ring which has been offing its school-age participants, generally via the violence-prone hands of its switchblade slingin’, likes-to-smother-himself-and-girls-in-latex boss.
If I said this was a comedy, and if that last bit seems a little ill fit for a comedy, that is where Eyecatch proves itself beyond its seemingly goofball roots. The girls are introduced to as us though they’re going to be incompetent – chuckly score stings included – but they soon prove otherwise (within context; there’s no actual policing by women or men very much on display in the flick).
At a stretch, you could point to some of the sexual proclivities on display as hints of Miike, but moreso we’re seeing a director operate in a very by-the-books manner, using, unfortunately, moments of violence and forced sex to titillate, and zooms and edits employed in a rather traditional manner. The stunt work is rather DIY, and there are some setups for gags involving secret spy props that are seemingly tossed by the wayside. That said, the framing and direction isn’t by any means lazy, and the film ends up moving along pretty effectively, injecting a very watchable movie inside its silly shell. There’s just nothing here to would make the movie stand out; again, you’re (very, very likely) watching this in retrospect because of who Miike is now.
(Bonus: the music is actually really awesome throughout.)