Sukeban (Japan 1973)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Girl Boss Revenge: Sukeban
Review Date: 1/28/19
Cast: Miki Sugimoto, Reiko Ike

A group of female delinquents led by Komasa Kanto (Miki Sugimoto) try to make a living in Osaka, but they run into trouble with rival girl gangs and the local Yakuza. Komasa finds love and friendship with a young Yakuza enforcer named Tatsuo, but things get complicated when his girlfriend Maya (Reiko Ike) gets back in town. Komasa and Maya are both fierce gang leaders and natural rivals, but they eventually put their differences aside to bring down a vicious crime boss who has been kidnapping local girls and forcing them into prostitution.

It's a nasty and unpleasant film, full of all the misogynistic violence, torture, and rape that you'd expect from the height of the pinky violence genre. The alluring Miki Sugimoto gives a delightfully defiant performance, and you never question her authority or ability (although you sometimes question her motives). Reiko Ike makes a wonderful rival, and the film really shines when they both take matters into their own hands. The action scenes are pretty weak, but Miki and Reiko go all in and never fail to be entertaining. There are even a couple of satisfying blood effects towards the end as Komasa skewers her assailants. Unfortunately, the overall tone is sexist and sleazy, and the film's attempts at humor are crude and tasteless. When one of the "good guys" is an amateur porn director, you know you're in trouble. The story tends to wander and mainly highlights the hardships and abuse of the girls until they reach their breaking point and exact revenge. For genre fans only.