I will readily admit to anyone within earshot that I am, in fact, a complete and utter hypocrite and a seething, pulsating motion picture snob. Hard to believe, I’m sure, but every centimeter of that bold statement is true. This embarrassing factoid has become more apparent as of late, especially when I find myself lambasting a selection of films for containing certain elements and praising others for doing the exact same thing. Careful examination of the evidence has determined that I am more lenient on foreign films than I am those produced and crafted within the United States. Go figure. Were I better writer and critic, perhaps I could put a finer point on it.
With this tidbit of needless information fresh in your Internet-saturated little minds, it should come as absolutely no surprise that I found myself giggling faux-girlishly while viewing Kôji Kawano’s hilariously awful erotic actioner The Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers, also known around the world as Joshikyôei hanrangun and Undead Pool. Using a threadbare plotline about a ferocious viral infection inside an otherwise ordinary Japanese high school as a crumbling foundation for naughtier ventures, the filmmakers and their bevy of Eastern cuties unleash an unapologetic torrent of violence, overblown action, pointless nudity, and gratuitous sex over the course of its 80 simplistic minutes, giving you and your kooky sexual fetishes plenty of bang for your entertainment dollar.
Guess what? I loved every microsecond of it.
And therein lies the problem. Why am I willing to forgive foreign flicks for wallowing in shameless gore and cheeky lesbian shenanigans when I’m ready and waiting to blow an icky review all over the collective face of Stateside filmmakers who are guilty of the same crimes? Am I operating on some sort of bizarre Anti-American plane of existence that has yet to manifest itself on a conscious level? Do I understand any of the words which appear in the previous sentences? To be perfectly honest, I’m really not sure.
Right now, at this very moment, all I know is that The Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers is one of the most enjoyable farcical Japanese productions I’ve seen in recent months, toppling both Stacy and Zombie Defense Force in terms of campiness and creepiness, the latter of which arises whenever the camera finds itself angled uncomfortably up one of the female character’s extremely short skirts. If not for the film’s short bursts of graphic violence and poorly-choreographed fights — which often employ the use of chainsaws, swords, and flutes which sounds like synthesized symphony orchestras — this could easily be defined as softcore pornography and immediately programmed for late-night viewing on Cinemax. All it needs for immediate Western consumption is an American dub featuring actors who sounds like underage girls sucking helium at an all-night pedophilia fair.
Specifically, the films follows the adventures of a former water terrorist(!) who gives up her life of international intrigue to live a normal, everyday existence within an normal, everyday public school. Unfortunately, her arrival at said institution coincides with the outbreak of a nasty virus which transforms teachers and students alike into blood-thirsty zombified killing machines hellbent on the destruction of just about everything. Since the chlorine in the school’s swimming pool blocks the effects of this vile disease, the world’s only hope for survival is the titular scantily-clad swim team. Inspired by the heroics of their newest member, these adorable ladies must band together to battle an evil mastermind who uses wind instruments to rape young women.
Like Stacy before it, The Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers owes a lot to the films produced and/or distributed by Troma, a company which has been churning out sleazy exploitation since the mid-70’s. Of course, one doesn’t waste his or her time with such fodder to experience ground-shattering acting or the whimsical, pitch-perfect imagination of its respective director. No, the only reason any reasonably intelligent person of sound mind and body will investigate this title is for the gore, the zombies, and the naked Japanese schoolgirls. That’s right. Don’t lie.
As such, the film isn’t exactly a big-budget dreamscape littered with impressive CG visuals and mind-blowing stunts. The fights, as stated, as rudimentary at best, and are often as short as they are sloppy. Additionally, the special effects are nothing to write home to grandma about; chances are she’s already accepted your hand-me-down 8-bit Nintendo as an impromptu Christmas present, so nothing found lurking within this production will either thrill or chill her. But for some strange reason, everything manages to work despite being derailed at the 11th hour by some graphic sexual encounters that really contribute nothing whatsoever to the storyline we’re wrestling with.
But who’s complaining, right? Certainly not me. However, had The Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers been produced by a company like Shock-O-Rama and featured someone such as Misty Mundae as the main attraction, I probably would have taken a squirty verbal dump all over it. And for the life of me, I can’t understand why. As it stands, Kôji Kawano’s tasteless little number works as a purely visceral adventure, one that is served battered dipped and deep-fried until its satirical crust is suitably greasy. Am I an unforgivable hypocrite for loving this movie as much as I do? Probably. But at least I’m willing to openly admit my shortcomings in this ridiculously entertaining public forum.
All apologies to Misty Mundae.