Girl Boss Guerilla (1972)

Directed by
6/10 - Enjoyable, if still far from exceptional
Reviewed by Simon on 2012-05-22

Miki Sugimoto stars as the leader of the Red Helmet girl biker gang (can you guess how they got their name?), who decide to go to Kyoto and end up taking over the local girl gangs by winning a fight. The girl gangs are a tad under the thumb of the yakuza though. After a bit more fighting and random nudity, Miki meets a boxer and falls for him, and the film finally develops an actual plot (more or less).

The first half of the film is frankly rather dull, with not much happening and none of it happening with any focus - and a rather amateurish feel to the whole production. Things do definitely improve later on though, and the story becomes quite interesting... characters get some development and some narrative drive is introduced. It all leads to a fairly satisfying conclusion eventually.

I know these 70's Toei films are worshipped by many (seems to be the fashionable thing), but frankly they're not nearly as good as the better films Shaw Brothers were making at the time, or even Hollywood was (this was back in the days when they still made real films there). Surely it's not just the fact that this was an era when girls would habitually get "naked and beaten silly" for the cameras that accounts for their popularity? In films like FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION it's easy to point out other aspects that make them genuinely brilliant pieces of cinema, but much less so with films like GIRL BOSS GUERILLA. I suspect it might just be the shamelessness and cheesiness that accounts for their appeal to many.

If I'd stopped the film at the half way mark I'd have dismissed it as an essentially worthless film, but the second half did become enjoyable, if still far from exceptional. It brings the film up to a strong 6/10 though, at least.