Knife fights! Boob tattoos! Religious sacrilege! Golden showers! Sexually-rabid biker chicks!
Girl Boss Guerilla hits a note somewhere between wanton perversion and pure, unabashed zaniness, setting aside much of anything resembling a plot, narrative, and…well…good taste in the process. But, if nothing else, it’s one hell of a fun ride. It’s also a swell example of what to expect from a Pinky Violence film, where sheer entertainment value is the name of the game. In fact, it purposely avoids all those pesky film conventions in favour of simply showing the viewer a damn good time. Hell, when you have this much sex, violence and depravity going on, it makes little sense to try and justify it. Might as well just check your better judgement at the door and roll with it…
Having said that, Girl Boss Guerilla is absolutely dripping with style and flair. Actually, it has a certain air of exuberance about it. It revels in the perversion. It eats it up. And therein lies the charm of the bulk of these Pink films - they’re not ashamed to be overtly comical and gaudy. Read too much into a movie like this is and you’re missing the point. Have fun, that’s all it asks of you.
We begin as the Red Helmet gang travels from Tokyo to Kyoto, looking to scam some poor unsuspecting tourists out of their hard-earned yen and take over the organized girl-crime in the area. But the local gangs won’t have anything of it. Tempers flare. Gang wars ensue. Shirts are ripped to shreds. Boobs are exposed. Amidst it all, Sachiko, the Red Helmet leader, rises to the top and takes over as girl-boss of the Kyoto female underworld. The local yakuza (the guys) expect to be paid their royalties, but the Tokyo gals ain’t pleased. More gang wars ensue. And...um...splice in various vignettes of the girls scamming money, having sex and riding their choppers and there you have it. But, of course, the story isn’t the point. Describing a movie like this in terms of plot is inadequate and does it a minor injustice, as it’s more about the aforementioned style and content than anything else.
The film stars two Pinky Violence queens – Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Ike as Sachiko and Nami respectively – and is directed by Pinky vet Norifumi Suzuki (School of the Holy Beast, Sex & Fury). With such a pedigree, one can expect greatness, and indeed there are moments when the film definitely delivers. Sugimoto and Ike are the stand-outs, overacting with that typical flamboyance that only the Japanese seem to be able to get away with. At one point the two meet to battle it out one-on-one and end up punching each other right into and through a river, before conceding they are simply too evenly matched for either to be declared an outright winner. Come to think of it, these fistfights almost always end up in one waterway or another. Ike, as usual, is especially good at playing the brooding heroine, although her role in this one is mostly supporting. However, she certainly shines when she’s put front-and-centre.
Suzuki had a knack for subverting expectations, and Girls Boss Guerilla is no exception. This is not a standard-issue biker movie, but rather a mish-mash of genres and themes. Here, he literally attacks the boundaries of good taste. In one scene, for instance, a nun is caught having sex with a monk. Not too long after, in the same sequence, one of the biker chicks gets urinated on while trying to retrieve a used condom. There’s botched abortions and a corrupt gynaecologist. A priest with the clap. And others.
Of course, there are all the typical cinematography highlights. Colors are put to good use - as is the case with most of the Pink films – albeit in a cartoonish kind of way here. The Red Helmet gang is a good example, with their shining helmets and bright 70’s outfits. As well, the zoom lens is employed almost every second or third shot, pulling back and flying in with seemingly reckless abandon. But, all in all, there are some damn nice shots (although these are often products of the bizarre), like the scene on the beach with the boxer and the Red Helmet boss. They make love on a pile of really uncomfortable-looking rocks, all for the sake of style. Good on them. And the wide lens shots of the girls riding around on their bikes wreaking havoc are always a lot of fun.
There are also some truly hilarious moments, whether intentional or not, which merit mention here. The plot often gets shoved aside and we are taken on numerous tangents throughout the film. In one scene, a nun (shaved head and all) steals one of the girls’ bikes, only to crash it and burn her leg. Then the girls ask her to join the gang. What’s Suzuki trying to say here? Did he have something personal against religion? One would guess, based on all the sacrilege he displays in this movie! In another part (my personal favourite), after the death of one of the central characters, a musician plays a song in memory of the deceased. Out of his guitar comes the sweet melody...of a piano? Classic.
If anything, Girl Boss Guerilla shows the breadth of Pinky Violence films. At one end of the spectrum you have the more serious (and often very excellent) movies like Lady Snowblood or Female Demon Ohyaku. On the other are a whole schwack of ridiculous entries that, while fun and entertaining, are hardly exercises in serious film-making. And why should they be? Sometimes you need a good, brainless ride. Girl Boss Guerilla is a great way to kill a couple of hours and, all in all, a decent entry to the Pink film genre.
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