|Vintage Pulp||Aug 12 2023|
Zero to crazy in under ninety minutes.
We first shared a poster for the pinky violence movie Sukeban gerira, aka Girl Boss Guerrilla, years ago and said at that time we'd get around to talking about the movie. We subsequently shared a tateken style poster, but still didn't get around to the film itself. Well, it's finally later. Eleven years later, to be exact. We refreshed our memory with a new screening last night, and to accompany today's thoughts we're sharing a rare bo-ekibari style poster of this classic pinky violence actioner from Toei Company.
Miki Sugimoto and three friends, who comprise the small but spirited Red Helmet Motorcycle Gang, take a trip from Tokyo to Kyoto to see if they can hustle up some yen by whatever means they can manage—grifts, graft, blackmail, whatever. They make some cash but quickly run afoul of Ryôko Ema of the Kyogoku Group, head boss of all Kyoto's girl gangs, which leads to a Ryôko-Miki showdown for control of the city. Our advice: never fight in flip-flops. But then again, we're not as tough as Miki. She loses her flip flops, but wins the fight.
There's always a set of bad men in the background of a pinky violence movie, and it turns out that though Kyoto's girl gangsters are now under Miki's hard won control, all operate under the umbrella of the Tsutsui Gang, who are basically the Kyoto branch of the yakuza. Miki has to give regular tribute to the boys, obey the rules, or pay the price. She'swilling to toe the line, but her situation is quickly complicated when she makes a new pal played by Reiko Ike, who's disinclined to obey anybody, but particularly the local yakuza clan, one of whose higher ups is her big brother.
Along the way to settling this mess you get fights, captures, torture, and nudity. Comedy and romance are part of the equation too, as is a bit of social commentary (a Red Helmet girl picking up gonorrhea from a priest is particularly biting). In the end a final throwdown is inevitable but how it turns out is anyone's guess. Nothing is guaranteed in a pinky violence movie—well, except violence.
Pinky violence movies can be fun, but the misses tend to be well wide of the mark, if not psychologically disturbing. Sukeban gerira is a nice example of the genre. It's wild, but never quite to the extent that it makes you want to run from the room. An excellent moment comes just a few minutes in, when Sugimoto aggressively bares a tattooed breast at a set of macho assholes, causing them to physically recoil. That sums up the best pinky violence: a new brand of feminine power that overcame any opposition set against it. Sukeban gerira premiered today in 1972.
JapanToei CompanySukeban geriraGirl Boss GuerrillaMiki SugimotoReiko IkeRyôko EmaNaomi Okapinkupinky violenceposter artcinemamovie review