Today’s selection: Travelers: Dimension Police (2013, dir. Koichi Sakamoto)
Subgenre: Parallel world
Available from: Kadokawa (R2 Japanese DVD has English subtitles)
If someone were to ask “what’s Koichi Sakamoto all about”, you could reply with a list: dutch angles, leering male gaze, hoaky CGI, kinetic fights where ragdoll people get thrown back into walls. Alternatively, you could show them Travelers: Dimension Police.
The film is about a cop named Ai (Nao Nagasawa of Hurricaneger), who works for the Dimension Police. As Jerry O’Connell explained in the intro to Sliders, there are infinite parallel worlds with varying world mechanics (we see the futuristic main world, the magical “Fairy World”, the prewar “Retro World”, and the dystopian “Lost World” in the movie, differentiated by color filters), and cunning criminals have realized that by hopping across interdimensional barriers, they can escape authorities and even impersonate their other-world doppelgangers. Ai and her cyborg partner (who reminds me a little of Appleseed‘s Briareos, sadly rendered entirely digitally) track these crooks down. Tossing a monkey wrench into the works is Ai’s former partner Yui (Ayumi Kinoshita of Dekaranger), who’s left the force to join a terrorist group.
The plot makes up for some predictable twists by having a lot of them, and the same can be said for the sheer quantity of effects shots (the CG is okay for magic and holograms, but not so much for robots and vehicles). The action is pervasive, but unmemorable, and there’s some interesting design work in the film (Lost World resembles St. Louis… a nod to Escape from New York?), so overall… it’s competent. The movie delivers on what the trailer promises, and makes an entertaining enough one-time watch.