A young woman and her mercenary for hire team run afoul of a violent mob boss and his sociopath daughter.A young woman and her mercenary for hire team run afoul of a violent mob boss and his sociopath daughter.A young woman and her mercenary for hire team run afoul of a violent mob boss and his sociopath daughter.
The story of Mezzo Forte is set sometime in the future and focuses on a reckless trio of mercenaries hired to kidnap a powerful crime lord and end up at war with his henchmen and his psychotic mafia princess daughter. This conflict is made even worse by the fact that they botched the kidnapping and ended up killing their victim, thus appearing to eliminate any chance of holding him for ransom (although they're the only ones who know that). Aside from some confusing and inexplicable stuff about the heroine and the villain being able to see the future, that's pretty much the story in a nutshell. It's a decent story, and even manages to have a few twists, but what really sold me on this anime was the over-the-top action handled with a rather twisted sense of humor. It's a well-known fact that the laws of physics seem to work differently in most anime, and Mezzo Forte plays with this concept to an absurd effect. When a girl who looks like she weighs about 100 pounds can kick a much larger man through a brick wall and it is treated as completely normal, it's clear that the writers and director aren't taking themselves too seriously. Unlike a lot of other really violent animes that come off as either pretentiously grim or exploitative, the violence here is handled with a sense of humor that lessens the horror of what we are seeing. It's definitely a nice change of pace.
The only thing I really didn't like about this was the pacing. The version I saw was only about an hour long, and it seemed to go through everything way too quickly. I could easily see something like this spread out across 90 minutes and still be worth watching. I've also heard that there is a director's cut that features two sex scenes that are so graphic that they push this anime into hentai territory (for those who don't know, hentai is basically anime porn). Although they weren't included in the version I saw, I was told where they would appear, and I can honestly say that they would be too out-of-place in this movie. They just sounded like an excuse to show some hot sex even if it had nothing to do with the plot. I certainly didn't feel like I was missing anything.
Overall, I found this movie to be a lot of brainless, ultraviolent fun that doesn't take itself too seriously. While I wouldn't recommend it to anyone too easily offended by some of the stuff in a typical R-rated Hollywood film (or a pornographic film, if what I understand of the sex scenes in the director's cut to be true), I would recommend it to anyone who likes a lot of wild action delivered with a dark yet tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.
- Dec 16, 2006