The baddies of the Red Mask Gang are robbing banks, raiding money
transports, extorting money and the like, and they're very inventive about
what they do, so the police is usually left without a clue. But there is
one man standing in the way of the Red Mask Gang's utter success - Moon
Mask Rider, a mysterious masked hero dressed all white on a motorcycle who
always seems to know when the Red Mask Gang is about to strike and who
always seems to find a way to relieve them of their money to return it to
its rightful owner - minus 10 percent commission he's always giving to the
poor. This doesn't only ire the Red Mask Gang but also the police who have
no idea who the Moon Mask Rider actually is.
The Red Mask Gang isn't
just your ordinary gang by the way but a bunch of highly specialized
experts picked from the highest ranks of the religious cult New Japanica,
with the cult's leader Kenpo being the gang's leader as well. But even
though the Red Mask Gang is a criminal gang, most of the gangmembers do
believe in the ideals of the gang ... which is why when one of them is
killed, gangmember Koroki, so far the brains of operations, falls into a
depression, and he turns against Kenpo when Kenpo wants to recruit more
cultmembers. Kenpo has him killed before too long.
Seeing Koroki killed,
Kenpo's own foster daughter Ikuko starts having doubts and wants to leave.
Now Kenpo can't kill her as easily as Koroki, so he forces her to extort a
fortune from the gouvernment, claiming the New Japanica cultmembers are
her hostages - she succeeds, too!
Of course, Kenpo never really wanted
all the money from his raids to really fund a silly old cult but to live
like a rich bastard, so once he has collected enough, he decides for his
followers to commit mass suicide and make a getaway together with Ikuko.
Of course, Moon Mask Rider interferes, saves the cultmembers and sees to
it that Kenpo gets his just desserts (he dies in a helicopter crash) while
Ikuko is allowed to die in a helicopter crash.
This film has
several nice elements - a death cult, masked heroes and villains, bizarre
baddies and weapons, and even a subplot of remorseful criminals ... and
all that adds up to very little, basically because the direction is very
bland, impersonal as can be, and never ready to embrace the campier side
of things. At the same time, while there are some interesting characters
here, all too few of them are fully developed, and especially the Moon
Mask Rider is nothing more than a faceless do-gooder (in more sense than
one). On top of that, the budget of the film doesn't always seem up to its
demands, which makes several scenes look underdeveloped. Now all that said
the film is not a total loss (as mentioned, it at least features
interesting elements), but not quite a triumph, either.