Sukeban Deka the Movie – film review

"Sukeban Deka the Movie" DVD cover.
“Sukeban Deka the Movie” DVD cover.
I was introduced to the Sukeban Deka television series almost 20 years ago, and Sukeban Deka the Movie happens after the second series. It is meldramatic and corny and really fun. Not terribly deep, but very fun. And the weapons of choice for the main characters are awesome.

A sinister man with designs on Japan heads a private reform high school on a private island where he bends the wills of the students to his own. Saki Asamiya has a chance encounter with a student who escaped from the school, and is drawn out of retirement back into being a sukeban deka (delinquent student cop). She teams up with two of her fellow sukeban deka and the one who took over her post when she retired. Together, they work to take down the megalomaniac before he can take over the government.

Sukeban Deka the Movie (and the series it’s from) are delightfully serious in their approach to the story. The story itself is so over the top (especially for a Western audience) that it almost parodies itself. The best way to enjoy this series is to revel in its quirkiness and not expect it to be anything too serious.

The music in the film was composed by Ichirō Nitta, who composed the music used in the three television series. This made the film a seamless extension of the television series, and the music really worked well. The main theme from the film was “Rakuen no Door” (楽園のDoor) sung by Yoko Minamino. It had a melancholic feel to it that fit the film and how it ended. Minamino is still one of my favorite Japanese singers.

Minamino did a good job as the reluctant hero in Sukeban Deka the Movie. Her co-starring heroes (Yui Asaka, Masato Ibu, and Keizo Kanie) portrayed their characters well, too. I especially enjoyed the Dark Director (Hiroyuki Nagato), who was a melodramatic goldmine. It was fun to see the gentle and refined “Okyō” (Haruko Sagara) again, too. Nothing like a rich friend to bail you out when you need it.

The special effects varied in quality. The blood was obviously fake, but the movie took that fakeness and embraced it. There were a number of miniature effects which were reminiscent of those used in all the Toho monster films. Other effects were done really well, such as up-close explosions. Probably the best looking effect was the metal arm (I can’t say more without spoiling some of the film). It looked really cool!

The story was pretty straightforward, with no real surprises. That’s typical of this kind of work from Japan. It was entertaining, making the “ride” fun despite everything else. Sukeban Deka the Movie is a popcorn flick, and it doesn’t try to be anything more than that. If you go into expecting just that, you will enjoy the film.

Release Date: February 14, 1987 (Japan)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Original Title: スケバン刑事
Language: Japanese with English subtitles

MySF Rating: Three point five stars
Family Friendliness: 100%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (occasional smoking, brief social drinking)
Language: 1 (mostly mild)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 1 (very mild innuendo)
Violence: 3 (some brutal violence, shootings, really fake blood, extreme peril, some death)

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