For those who enjoy the work of Mamoru Oshii, you needn't read this review, for much like his previous ventures, including Ghost in the Shell, its sequel Innocence, and the Sky Crawlers, this particular feature is one that is sure to captivate and enthuse.
Separated into chapters, Assault Girls takes place in Avalon (F), a virtual gaming world where the avatars of real people must do battle with massive carnivorous monsters in order to score points. Those familiar with Role Playing Games will especially understand the importance of scoring points in order to successfully level up to gain better defensive and offensive capabilities.
Assault Girls focuses on three competitive women, vying for ascendancy in the virtual arena. Meissa Kuroki steals the show as the skilled tactician Gray, not least of all because she's more gorgeous than Aphrodite. Colonel, portrayed by Hinako Saeki, who viciously attacks with proficiency, is far nicer than her title might suggest, while Rinko Kikuchi as the skilled magician Lucifer, is easily the cutest character of all. Deserving a larger role, she dances across the battlefield, having, what could be assumed, the time of her life.
Despite the film's title suggesting the cast is comprised of women, joining the ladies in this adventure is Yoshikazu Fujiki as Jager, a glorified nomad with a violent temperament.
Although the visuals are not Hollywood standard, they are certainly engaging, while the additional sound, and Kenji Kawai's score (not to mention the Kotoko single Screw) project the viewer into an environment, that although desolate, is as engrossing as it is alive.
Despite each character's ability to use the English vernacular is well achieved, and listening to them occasionally poke fun at each other is enjoyable, it is plainly obvious that none of them are natural speakers. On the occasions when characters speak with masks covering their faces, the dialogue becomes less audible, and thus, subtitles are perhaps a good investment throughout the entirety of the film.
With the exception of the narrator, dialogue is seldom used in many instances. This aside, the director and actors alike are able to efficaciously express the character's motives and desires through their actions. Despite the ideas transcribed upon the screen at the start of each chapter being as thought provoking as they are entertaining, the way the character's use the game's environment is one of the most uniquely satisfying focuses of the picture. Where some characters respond to the environment by beneficially assisting it, others play with it, while others see it as a source of food, or destroy it completely.
Relying on neither intense violence or coarse language to tell its story, this entertaining, gripping, and occasionally laugh out loud funny feature proves that Mr. Oshii is a director whose work is as satisfying, as it is worthy of watching. With unfathomably beautiful women, captivating action scenarios, and intellectually stimulating ideas, Assault Girls may not appease everyone, but for fans of the director's previous work, this is certainly not to be missed.
Review by Derek Childs from the Internet Movie Database.