Love Beyond the Limits
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cheryl is the latest protagonist in the seemingly endless series of "Girls with Guns" imports from Japan. Cheryl is a bodyguard rather than an assassin, although she usually gets to fight lots of other folks who are assassins. Her support network includes Mark, a one-armed bartender and former soldier of fortune; Lucky Ear, a wheelchair-bound techno-geek who's in love with Cheryl; and a female doctor who seems to know many secrets about Cheryl. The doctor provides therapy to Cheryl in the form of sensuous nude massages, during which Cheryl fantasizes, rather incongruously--or so it seems--about men in kickboxing tournaments.Cheryl's latest assignment is to protect a jewel thief from Hong Kong, who's come to Japan to recover a cache of hidden gems. The bad guys (whoever they are, and it doesn't really matter) have put out a contract on the thief, so Cheryl kicks, punches, and shoots her way through several bloody encounters with various assassins. Naturally, she beats them all, so the opposition ups the ante by calling in the Owl, an allegedly unstoppable killer. It turns out that Cheryl and the Owl have a past history, but it's definitely not what you would expect. Their final encounter is both erotic and sanguinary, in the approved tradition of this intensely formulaic genre.Better than average, due to the interesting, if improbable, plot twist that drives the final part of the movie."