Genre: Fist Flailing Female Bikers
review in one breath
Sachiko and her Red Helmet Gang leave the neon of Shinjuku and take a road trip to see the Gion Festival of Kyoto. But within hours of their arrival we find them nipple deep in yakuza cat fights (MEOW!!) and estrogen-driven power grabs! Will Sachiko be able to maintain her grip over the unruly Kyoto gangs? And, more importantly, will she be able to locate the missing plot???
HOO BOY! Just when I though this collection was going somewhere!
This film is one of four released in December 2005 by Panik House Entertainment under the collective title "Pinky Violence Collection".
The four films in this collection are:
Criminal Woman: Killing Melody (Zenka Onna Karoshi Bushi)
- A 1973 film directed by Mihori Atsushi.
Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess (Zubeko bancho: zange no neuchi mo nai)
- A 1971 film by director Yamaguchi Kazuhiko.
Girl Boss Guerilla (Sukeban Gerira)
- A 1972 film by director Suzuki Norifumi.
Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom
(Kyoufu Joshi Koukou: Boukou Rinchi Kyoushitsu)
- A 1973 film (also) by director Suzuki Norifumi.
I discuss in some detail the collection as a whole in my review of Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess. And a discussion of director Norifumi's history and role in this collection can be found in my review of Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom. Rather than repeat myself here, I'll point you to those reviews.
I've explained elsewhere how this entire collection is a hodge-podge mish-mash of films which shouldn't normally be gathered together into a single set. The only possible logic behind these particular films' inclusion would have to involve their being distinct "exemplars", resulting in this then becoming a "Best Of the Genre" collection. Such a scenario would assume, for example, that Panik House could have released other films in this genre (and these series) but instead separated the wheat from the chaff and came up with this shortlist of four of the best.
After seeing "Worthless to Confess" and "Terrifying Girls' School", I came quite close to giving Panik House the benefit of the doubt, since I felt these two films may very well qualify as "exemplars". But after watching Girl Boss Guerrilla, the film under review here, such pie-in-the-sky naivete has come crashing back to Earth. For the only things this film exemplifies are the strange facts that a film can actually exist without a plot and that some people such as myself will watch anything if put before their dull and vacant eyes.
I think you can guess where this review is headed...
My over-dramatized point here is simply that I have come to the conclusion that this particular "pinky violence" collection is (most likely) a hastily thrown together set of readily available films irregardless of their lack of logical or chronological relatedness. Thus the obvious discrepancy between "Worthless to Confess" and "Terrifying Girls' School" and the even larger quality gaps between those films and "Girl Boss Guerilla" are not caused by an exemplar-driven strategy at Panik House, but rather derive simply from sheer chance and coincidence that these films were the first to become available to them for release. Sigh.
Update : Though I will leave my initial theory regarding the hodge-podge nature of this collection posted, be sure to read the rather excellent rebuttal by Matt Kennedy of Panik House in the comments below. In essence, he explains that this is intended to be a "Best Of" collection, requiring subtstantial time to piece together.
This is director Suzuki Norifumi's third sukeban film out of his series of four (sukeban) films. Though I've repeated this elsewhere, here's the relevant snippet of his filmography:
1971 - Sukeban Buruusu: Hinbachi no gyakushuu
"Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee's Counterattack"
1972 - Sukeban Blues: Hinbachi no chousen
"Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee's Defiance"
1972 - Sukeban Gurira
"Girl Boss Guerilla"
1972 - Kyoufu Joshi Koukou: Onna Bouroku Kyoushitsu
"Terrifying Girls' High School: Violent Girls' Classroom
1973 - Sukeban
1973 - FuryÃ´ anego den: Inoshika OchÃ´
"Delinquent Elder Sister: Inoshika Ocho" (aka "Sex and Fury")
1973 - Kyoufu Joshi Koukou: Boukou Rinchi Kyoushitsu
"Terrifying Girl's High School: Lynch Law Classroom"
From this you can see that during this genre's peak years, Suzuki was an active participant. I was quite enamored by both Sex and Fury and Terrifying Girl's High School: Lynch Law Classroom, but the differences in quality and narrative between these and "Girl Boss Guerilla" are almost overwhelming.
Suzuki here again casts Ike Reiko and Sugimoto Miki side by side, this time giving top billing to Sugimoto (though as usual, the primary tough girl/heroine can arguably be said to be Ike's character.) In lieu of a plot, this particular Suzuki film amounts to a "travelogue", and has his main characters inexplicably move from one famous tourist spot to the next.
The first half of the film centers around Kyoto's annual Gion Matsuri (Gion Festival). Why? Well, on the one hand Sachiko and her biker gang are on an unexplained "road trip". And on the other hand, the introduction of the highly touted Gion Festival will easily divert audiences' attention away from the glaring lack of coherent plot. THEN, when the Gion setting gets dull, Suzuki moves EVERYBODY (!!) to the lavish Hot Springs Hotel of East Izu. Why? Because this expensive (and sponsor?) ocean-side resort apparently also serves as a training camp for low rank boxers AND coincidentally lies directly in the path of the hitchhiker's bee-line from Kyoto to Tokyo! (You see? Its all beginning to make sense.)
To heighten the distraction, Suzuki throws in not only the seduction and utter debauchery of a catholic priest (who for some odd reason is strolling around the resort grounds), but also paints the head monk of the highly revered Dogen Temple (!!!) as habitually hiding the (vegetarian) salami with horny bald nuns! (YOWZA!! Suzuki's gotta be going to hell for that!)
Sachiko (Sugimoto) and her Red Helmet Gang of female biker/thugs leave their home turf of Shinjuku (Tokyo) and head to Kyoto to see the popular Gion Festival. The flood of tourists allows the girls to make some easy money through a variety of schemes ranging from begging to prostitution, but when the local (female) yakuza catch wind of their activities, a MAJOR catfight ensues.
Watching from a distance is Nami (Ike), former boss of the Kyoto Female Yakuza and sister of Nakahara, and aspiring yet violence-prone leader in the Kyoto-based Tsutsui (male) yakuza clan. You see, for unbeknownst reasons, Nami retired from gang life and handed over the reigns to Rika (the girl getting pulverized by Sachiko) in order to become "a lone wolf", leaving Kyoto (to who knows where), a move which really made her brother mad and now they are estranged and won't talk to each other. But now she's back in Kyoto for the Gion Festival...
ANYWAY. Nami and Sachiko hit it off (after an amazingly prolonged cat fight set to symphonic music (!!!)) and soon find themselves together battling the big boys over yakuza turf, money, and their genitalia. Then Sachiko falls in love with a low rank boxer who in addition to planning on becoming the champ "by next November", also punches yakuza thugs who beat up girls. And man, you know they don't like that sh*t.
WHAT??!? (I'll say it again. HOO BOY!!) I am almost speechless here.
First off, we are given absolutely NO reason to prefer or side with Sachiko and her gang other than the fact that they are the first to show us their tattooed bOObies. (That's gotta count for something, right?) We have no idea who they are, why they are, or what they're up to. (They also seem to be lacking this knowledge themselves.) ALL we know is that they wear red motorcycle helmets while sitting in coffee shops in the middle of summer (did I mention they are the Red Helmet Gang?), have very impressive homemade tattoos highlighting their left nipple (which, btw, take the place of business cards), and are able, the mere five of them, to completely overthrow the entire Kyoto-based yakuza cartel.
Second, HOLY COW! There's a WHOLE LOTTA BITCH-SLAPPING going on here! This is like the Holy Grail of fist-flailing, hair-pulling cat fights! (MEOW!!) While I'm certainly not one to criticize a sudden blouse-ripping, breast-baring cat fight, how about adding a little variety to the, oh FIFTY(?) femme-on-femme fist fights? How about throwing in some weapons. Hell, even goose-down pillows (and lacey lingerie!) might help here. But no, you will be treated to face slaps ad naseum.
And now on to the BIG question... Should I recommend this or not? (Ha!)
Well, despite their being contained within a single collection, these four films are indeed available separately as rentals, so you do in fact have a choice. But let's just drop pretenses and be honest here. Who amongst us, who has seen at least one of these films, is really going to refrain from watching this entire collection?
Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD available at all mainstream venues.
|Rather crappy coverage of Kyoto's famed Gion Festival and the (apparently) luxurious Nishi Izu Hot Springs Hotel. (As they say in Japan... Whoop Dee Doo!)||Major fisticuffs and neck-throttling. More cane whipping of bare breasts than Singapore can imagine. Plenty of bitch-slapping and one LOUD squeal-inducing kick to the balls. (!) Oh yeah, then there's that whole dynamite thing...||WOW! Tattooed biker bOObies galore!! One very sexy and totally out of control nymphomaniac pleasure machine (and subsequent clap dispenser). And who knew those head-shaved buddhist nuns were naked, buxom and horny underneath those robes?!?||An amazingly plot-less travelogue literally brimming with nipples, flailings and suspiciously convenient coincidences. But where else are you gonna find the "Spermatazoa Woman's College Internal Research Department"??|