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.
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.
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.