10/17/08

Who Needs Blue Movies when You've Got Pink Film?

Before I checked out this movie, I was not familiar with the Japanese "Pink Film". It was a style of film that became popular in Japan from the 1960's to the mid 1980's that featured softcore sex often with blurred out or otherwise obscuring the actor or actress' naughty bits. Within these films is a subgenre unto itself, the Pinky Violence movies of Toei Studios. These flicks paired the sex with traditional exploitation favorites like revenge, torture, and tough, tough chicks. As a big fan of the tough girls, I had to check one out, and I was not disappointed. I bring you a tale of bikers, boxers, and tattooed boobies that could only be known as....

Sukeban gerira a.k.a Girl Boss Gorilla (1972) starring Miki Sugimoto, Reiko Ike, and MichitarĂ´ Mizushima. Directed by Norifumi Suzuki.

As the film opens, the Red Helmet Gang, five girls on choppers lead by their cooler than cool leader Sachiko (Sugimoto), are on their way to raise hell in Kyoto. They stop along the way to beat a pack of offending men down proving their rough ways are not just talk and posturing. One they hit town, the girls split up to make some money through various cons and petty thefts. This riles the leader of the Kyoto girl gangs, Rika, and they are summoned before her. Sachiko and Rika square off in a clothes ripping, head smashing, hair pulling fight, and Sachiko emerges as the clear winner. However the Kyoto girls don't see it that way, and they all pull knives. The Red Helmet Gang is about to become the Red Stain on the Ground Gang until Numi (Ike), the former Kyoto girl gang boss who's been on vacation, shows up and declares Sachiko the victor.


Sachiko holds a meeting of the girl gangs and lays down how things are going to run, and everything is going well for them until a bald nun comes along and steals one of their bikes. The girls give chase and eventually run the nun off the road injuring her leg. She begs to be taken to a doctor, and so the girls take her to be examined by a gynecologist. This scene only gets more bizarre as the quack Doctor ignores the injury to the leg and checks under her habit instead which leads him to comment on the dichotomy of her shaved head and unkempt privates. The Nun soon becomes a member of the gang complete with the traditional left breast tattoo that all the girls have.

Soon the Red Helmet Gang pulls off a major blackmailing scam involving a pictures of a Buddist monk and the nun having sex. After some coercion and getting slapped in the face with his own used condom, the monk pays the girls off to the tune of 1 million Yen. Their celebration is short lived though as the local Yakuza gang, the Tsutsui, show up and demand the money. Naturally Sachiko is not happy with losing the big score. She lays in wait some of the Tsutshi, but the tables are quickly turned on her. She is saved in the nick of time by aspiring boxer Ichiro (Mizushima). They fall for each other, but Ichiro has his eye set on becoming a champion.

He sets out for a resort hotel to train, and the girls tag along to scam and harass people there. Eventually the Tsutshi boss shows up and tries to muscle in on the boxing trainer. The boss demands a share of the gym and a split of the trainer's money from fights. The proud man refuses, and has his daughter kidnapped. The Red Helmet Gang saves her, but soon it is Sachiko that is at the Yakuza's mercy. When Ichiro comes to her rescue and gets killed, Sachiko will stop at nothing to see his death avenged.

The most striking thing about this movie to me is the beauty of the cinematography. The color palette is very lush and the scenes set in the streets of Kyoto are full of life. It also features a very funky soundtrack that I would love to own. The corny humor and exploitative violence throughout balance each other well, and make for an entertaining time. Which is good because the film comes up very short in the plot department. Many times I thought I could see the main conflict looming; only to see that plot line disintegrate. When it finally comes down to the climax, it is so late in the movie that it feels rushed and unresolved.

There are a couple of scenes that really stand out and make the film. In one, when a folk singer strums his guitar, piano music comes out, and it's simply hilarious. In another, Sachiko and Numi have a brawl, and they choose to do it in a river. It makes for one of the greatest girl fights that I have ever seen. Which reminds me, one of the other great things about the film is the bevy of Asian beauties that grace the screen. Miki Sugimoto has become an actress that I will definitely be tracking down in other films.

Girl Boss Gorilla was a very fun time, and definitely held many facets of genre pictures that I like. However, the weak story did end up being a major detracting element. Compared to other girl gang pictures like Switchblade Sisters or tough girl revenge flicks like Thriller, it can't really hold it's own. That being said, it did sell me on the Pinky Violence genre and I will surely be exploring more films from that era. Overall if you want some mindless fun or love hot Asian babes, then this one is for you.
Bug Rating

Warning: This Preview Does Contain Nudity!

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