Review of Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

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Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is an animated movie based on the supernatural third person shooter developed by Platinum Games. The film’s appearance on UK retail store shelves coincides with the long overdue release of Bayonetta 2, which is exclusively available on Nintendo’s Wii U (much to the annoyance of Microsoft and Sony fan boys everywhere.) A dream team of Japanese creators was involved in the movie’s creation, which combines the talents of Studio Gonzo with director Fuminori Kizaki. Seems like a marriage made in heaven given that Bayonetta’s over the top action should be right up the alley of the team previously responsible for Hellsing and Afro Samurai.

OVERVIEW

An exposition dump during the movie’s opening informs viewers, not familiar with the franchise, of the lead heroine’s origins. In case you are not aware, Bayonetta is an Umbra witch who uses bullet spewing high heels to battle creatures at dusk whilst masquerading as a nun during the day (in case her default naughty librarian look isn’t kinky enough for you.) Like with many Japanese protagonists, Bayonetta is suffering from a bad case of amnesia that prevents her from recalling her past. Bloody Fate’s wafer thin plot revolves around Bayonetta pursuing a decrepit cult leader who may hold the key to her lost memories. To get to him Bayonetta will have to fight past a legion of angels who wish to sacrifice the buxom witch in order to revive an ancient god.

Writing a synopsis for this movie is tough because, aside from the above-mentioned setup, there isn’t much in the way of story. Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is just an excuse for animating ninety minutes of non-stop action featuring angelic creatures and a femme fatale who summons ravenous demons by shedding her body tight garments. There’s a subplot about a reporter who chases Bayonetta, in the hopes of exposing the existence of witches, but that doesn’t go anywhere, as the journalist in question is nothing more than comic relief. The movie’s cast also includes a bespectacled girl named Cereza who claims to be Bayonetta’s daughter. The opportunity to explore Bayonetta’s parental instincts is however quashed by a script that condones child abandonment just so the lead can get on with the more important task of cherub slaying.

VERDICT

My rating for Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is a two and a half stars. To be honest the odds of me enjoying the film were always going to be slim as I am not a fan of its source material. The movie also suffers from the same faults that marred my enjoyment of Hellsing and Afro Samurai – namely too much mindless violence and an indestructible main character who renders any threat they face moot. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy action flicks as much as the next guy, but you need to sprinkle some substantial story/characters between the explosions to maintain my interest. When all a film can offer is a constant wave of flashy combat it falls into the Transformers trap, where your audience eventually gets desensitized to the spectacular sequences you are airing.

If you are a fan of the games (or have a higher threshold for endless slaughter) you can upgrade my rating to three stars, as the movie offers some entertainment in a “turn off your brain and guzzle popcorn” sort of way. On the flip side, if you detest terrible dialogue knock a star off because the cast are guilty of delivering corny one liners that would make an eighties action star blush. Needless to say feminists should stay well clear of this release, as the artists involved have no qualms about drawing Bayonetta in all manner of unflattering poses. I personally am not averse to that sort of thing, but I couldn’t appreciate the lead’s nude form as the character designs are too lanky for my liking. To sum up, if you were asking me “witch” anime movie to watch next I would not recommend Bayonetta: Bloody Fate.

6 thoughts on “Review of Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

  1. Dang, you beat me to it. I only watched it because I planned to get into the series at some point (and a Wii U), yet with only limited knowledge – I can definitely tell there feels like something is missing. Although, it is a video game adaption, so understandable. Most people that the like the game do for the “over-the-top” nature – which I was able to get a sense for, but not a whole lot of in the span of 90 mins. Funimation’s dub was okay though and always like hearing Bayonetta’s opulent British accent XD

  2. XDD Judge, go with the pun “witch”. Ah I see, so basically this is the first Bayonetta game..just animated. With zero exposition dump on world or lore. And the movie relies on you actually playing the game to understand as to what is going on. If that is the case, then it sucks for anyone who is watching this without playing the game.

  3. 2 1/2? Ouch! 😛 As you know I have no clue about the game so I had no expectations so I enjoyed this a little more than you did. However as well animated as it is, the weak storyline and character development flaws you pointed out are unmistakably palpable even to a newcomer to the franchise like me.

  4. I liked your overview of the movie, and while I haven’t seen it, the description does seem to at least indicate they tried to stay true to the source material. A lot of what you describe is in the game, Warring factions of witches, the goofy investigative reporter. The child claiming to be Bayonetta’s daughter (Though in the game it leads to a twist you can see coming if you pay enough attention.) Of course if the movie spends zero time on these moments or developing these characters, it would make sense one might not like it. Especially if the viewer hasn’t played the games.

  5. Pingback: Around the Web - 12/7/14 - The Credible Hulk

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