009-1: The End of the Beginning (2013)

Mayuko Iwasa, Minehiro Kinomoto, Nao Nagasawa, Mao Ichimichi,
Marking the 75th anniversary of his birth, Shotaro Ishinomori's classic spy heroine manga "009-1" has been adapted into a live-action motion picture for the first time ever.
  • 4.5 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Shôtarô Ishinomori, Keiichi Hasegawa, Writer:
  • Koichi Sakamoto, Director:
  • Producer:
5/10 / 10

...There is no real emotional connection to the characters, or theirdevelopment, resulting in very two dimensional individuals, the storyitself, which fails to substantially bear fruit, being conceived in asimilar vein.

Having never viewed the Manga or Anime this feature is based upon,perhaps I was at a disadvantage, as I did not expect the opening of thefilm to encompass sex and nudity. The film exhibits an avidconcentration on the legs and chests belonging to the femalecharacters, and despite the lead never revealing her underlying flesh,which reflects the principles the feature is able to support, much ofthe sexual content contradicts this particular aspect through thesevere limitation exhibited upon morals in general - even incest beinga theme incorporated into the script.

Almost all of the female characters dress in leather outfits that areabsolutely stunning, revealing the physicality of the gorgeous womenwearing them. There's one particular scene involving two women withmagnificent external features, one of whom is pinned to a table, theother on top, her tongue dancing across the body of the woman who'stied down, saliva left in its wake. This, much like a scene where womenare dressed in alluring maid outfits, which is a step up from othermoments involving women whose attire is even more revealing, isobviously aimed towards a male audience, who will, in all likelihood,potentially enjoy the aforementioned scene, as it is easily one of thefilm's most memorable moments. Unfortunately, it seems the creators puttoo much thought into the tantalizing visuals and innuendo, and notenough elsewhere, which is where the attention was most required. Safeto say, feminists need not apply to watch this movie, with over 80% ofthe women in the feature been relegated to unnecessary sexiststereotypes.

On the subject of the film's other prominent feature, the sheer mass ofviolence steadily increases over the course of the film, until redbecomes the main color spilling across the screen. The fight scenes,although occasionally wonderfully executed, despite the obvious lowbudget, sometimes become tiresomely long-winded, even with the actionoriented soundtrack which efficaciously works accompanying many of thescenes. Most of these battles take place in condemned locations thatlack much physical appeal, whereas limited time is spent in thefeature's more luxurious settings.

Due to the focus on sexually related ideas, and buckets of blood andgore, the story exhibits minimal impact upon the viewer. In the future,the world is divided into two blocks: east and west. Mylene, otherwiseknown as 009-1 (Mayuko Iwasa), is a brilliant spy for the WesternBlock, outfitted with an arsenal of weaponry (including machine-guns inher breasts, that, although imaginative, have recently been shownelsewhere). In battle, she is outmatched, frequently been called uponto undergo dangerous operations. When eliminating a human traffickingoperation, she happens upon Chris (Minehiro Kinomoto), whose veryexistence begins to change her life, causing her to feel a connectivetug dragging her continuously towards him. Her employer, led by 020(Naoto Takenaka) however, will not allow her to experience a normallife so easily. Upon been thrust into an operation to save a valuedscientist, Dr. Klein (Aya Sugimoto), who has a direct connection to herpast, Mylene finds herself in the center of a fight unlike any she hasever encountered. Who can she trust? What can she do? And can shefigure it all out in time?

A collection of cliché ideas, that are not nearly as predictable asthey are flattening to the overall story, alongside an anti-climaticconclusion, that raises more questions than it deems to answer, whileteasing the possibility of a sequel, inhibit much of the tension andsuspense the film attempts to construct. If you, dear viewer, want tosee an assortment of unfathomably beautiful women in sexy, sexyoutfits, then please, look no further. If you want a film that containsa decent storyline, maybe you ought to look elsewhere...

5/10 / 10

"009-1" is a horrifically violent but very stylish film. Blood and goreis rampant and can very off-putting. So, if you don't like all theviolence, then it's certainly NOT a film for you. I am just warning youabout this up front, as the film is a 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10 forviolence! Because of this, and a bit of nudity and sexuality, it'sprobably NOT a good film to watch with your kids, your mother or FatherO'Reilly!

The film is based on an older manga series from Japan. Back from 1967-1970 the series ran in serial form and it made a brief re-appearance in1974. Then, much more recently, an anime version was made. How closethey are to this live-action film, I have no idea.

The film begins with a prologue telling the audience that the film isset in some dystopic future--where evil and greed are rampant and thepoor are treated pretty much like animals. The opening scene in thenight club pretty much sets the stage for the violence you'll see, as acomplete scum of a guy kills for no reason. And, after brutallymurdering someone, he turns his lustful eyes to a gorgeous woman--awoman who just happens to be 009-1. However, it turns out that 009-1 isa secret agent--a cybernetic one! She has little in the way of pastmemories and is full of amazing gadgets, as she was created to serveher 'side' in some seemingly meaningless battle between rivalcountries. In addition to being able to regenerate, dodge bullets,seduce men and kill with ease, this robotic lady also has boobs whichare, well, booby- trapped! You'll just have to see the film tounderstand what I mean. But of course, she kills this scum-bag--as wellas most everyone in his entourage. Such goings on are pretty much theENTIRE film--with 009-1 going from one boss battle after another andkilling. However, during the course of 009-1's violent missions, shestarts to remember more and more bits of who she might have been beforeshe was made into some sort of killing machine reminding me of theexcellent sci-fi book by Joe Haldeman, "All My Sins Remembered").Additionally, she begins to show some independence--such as choosing insome cases NOT to kill as she seems to be developing some compassion. Ireally liked this aspect of the film--a blurring between the line ofwhat it is to be a machine and what it is to be emotionally human (sortof like a rated-R version of "Wall-E"!).

Unfortunately, as the film progresses, I got a very strong feeling thatthere were two big problems with the film. First, while the ideas in"009-1" are really neat, there simply are too many pieces of plot allshoved into the film. This movie is definitely a case where more isless--the more plot points they cram into the movie, the more you getoverwhelmed. It feels as if they put too much of the old series intoone film instead of letting it unfold like a serial. A mini-series orfollow-up films would have probably worked better. It just overwhelmsyou with all the plot twists and exposition. Overwhelming is also whatI felt about the violence. I will admit that I am not a huge fan ofviolence unless it is handled well (such as in the wonderful GinaCarano films). Here, you get one killing after another after anotherand after a while I just found it a bit boring. Had the film progressedslower and focused much more on a central plot, the more it would haveentertained. As it is, it is a very unique film but one I cannotwholeheartedly recommend unless you want mindless violence--much likeif you are playing a video game. An interesting idea but one thatleaves you feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I'd love to hear from you anime and manga fans about this one. Is theoriginal story THIS complicated and violent? Did it leave you feelingexhausted and a bit overwhelmed? And, are the anime, manga and filmsimilar or did the filmmakers take some serious diversions from the oldstory?

6/10 / 10

It is some time in the future and a new world order has emerged,pitting the Western Block against the Eastern Block. J-Country is theborder between the two powers. Mylene Hoffman is an undercover agentfor the Western Block. She is also a cyborg, 009-1. She is good at herjob, eliminating many of the West's enemies. However, while under herprotection, her creator, Dr Klein, is kidnapped. Her employer blames009-1 and suspends her. She doesn't take this well...

Reasonably entertaining sci fi action-drama. Pretty basic storyline,though with enough twists and turns to keep you interested.

Main focus, of course, is on the action scenes, and they come thick andfast. I'm generally not into action movies - they tend to be veryformulaic and their action scenes unoriginal - but this seemeddifferent and kept me interested.

One reason my concentration was maintained was due to Mayuko Iwasastarring as 009-1. She is great on the eyes and definitely makes themovie more watchable than it otherwise would have been.

5 / 10

Too much....

"009-1" is a horrifically violent but very stylish film. Blood and gore is rampant and can very off-putting. So, if you don't like all the violence, then it's certainly NOT a film for you. I am just warning you about this up front, as the film is a 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10 for violence! Because of this, and a bit of nudity and sexuality, it's probably NOT a good film to watch with your kids, your mother or Father O'Reilly!

The film is based on an older manga series from Japan. Back from 1967- 1970 the series ran in serial form and it made a brief re-appearance in 1974. Then, much more recently, an anime version was made. How close they are to this live-action film, I have no idea.

The film begins with a prologue telling the audience that the film is set in some dystopic future--where evil and greed are rampant and the poor are treated pretty much like animals. The opening scene in the night club pretty much sets the stage for the violence you'll see, as a complete scum of a guy kills for no reason. And, after brutally murdering someone, he turns his lustful eyes to a gorgeous woman--a woman who just happens to be 009-1. However, it turns out that 009-1 is a secret agent--a cybernetic one! She has little in the way of past memories and is full of amazing gadgets, as she was created to serve her 'side' in some seemingly meaningless battle between rival countries. In addition to being able to regenerate, dodge bullets, seduce men and kill with ease, this robotic lady also has boobs which are, well, booby- trapped! You'll just have to see the film to understand what I mean. But of course, she kills this scum-bag--as well as most everyone in his entourage. Such goings on are pretty much the ENTIRE film--with 009-1 going from one boss battle after another and killing. However, during the course of 009-1's violent missions, she starts to remember more and more bits of who she might have been before she was made into some sort of killing machine reminding me of the excellent sci-fi book by Joe Haldeman, "All My Sins Remembered"). Additionally, she begins to show some independence--such as choosing in some cases NOT to kill as she seems to be developing some compassion. I really liked this aspect of the film--a blurring between the line of what it is to be a machine and what it is to be emotionally human (sort of like a rated-R version of "Wall-E"!).

Unfortunately, as the film progresses, I got a very strong feeling that there were two big problems with the film. First, while the ideas in "009-1" are really neat, there simply are too many pieces of plot all shoved into the film. This movie is definitely a case where more is less--the more plot points they cram into the movie, the more you get overwhelmed. It feels as if they put too much of the old series into one film instead of letting it unfold like a serial. A mini-series or follow-up films would have probably worked better. It just overwhelms you with all the plot twists and exposition. Overwhelming is also what I felt about the violence. I will admit that I am not a huge fan of violence unless it is handled well (such as in the wonderful Gina Carano films). Here, you get one killing after another after another and after a while I just found it a bit boring. Had the film progressed slower and focused much more on a central plot, the more it would have entertained. As it is, it is a very unique film but one I cannot wholeheartedly recommend unless you want mindless violence--much like if you are playing a video game. An interesting idea but one that leaves you feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I'd love to hear from you anime and manga fans about this one. Is the original story THIS complicated and violent? Did it leave you feeling exhausted and a bit overwhelmed? And, are the anime, manga and film similar or did the filmmakers take some serious diversions from the old story?

5 / 10

The monster inside.

Sometimes the idea is better then the execution. While slickly presented, the overdone plotting within a very small time frame makes it feel like a disconnected mess. That's the issue regarding the shot-on-video adaptation of 1970s spy manga "009-1: The End of the Beginning".

A beautiful, but deadly cyborg spy 009-1 tries to rescue the doctor who made her a cyborg, but on this mission she begins to discover things of her past.

It doesn't waste any time on filler, but it just feels shallow trying to squeeze a lot in. Therefore the development and emotional context loses out. Contrived story-telling involving twists and turns alongside jaded flashbacks don't have the impact as they should. Maybe this is due to the low-end budget, but certain things felt lazy and half- baked. Just like the computer effects.

Now where it didn't lose focus, was the action. This remains non- stop and bloody, as it showers the screen with fireworks. They really do punch away, other times it's over-the-top and there's some bite. But the use of special effects in those scenes do become tiring, as well long-winded. Still there are some surprises, despite the run-of-the-mill set-up. You could say it does get hot and bothered, just look at those sexy outfits and the sensual teasing. Strangely enough, it's part of the story.

The cast don't have too much to work with material-wise, but psychically it's a different story. Performances are stereotypical all round, but the stunning Mayuko Iwasa fits right at home as 009- 1. She brings the right temperament to her character, as her humane compassion starts to break away that ice-cold killing machine instinct.