10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Girl Boss Revenge (Sukeban) 
Written by: on April 2nd, 2008

Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1973
Director: Norifumi Suzuki
Cast: Miki Sugimoto, Hiroshi Miyauchi, Ryoko Ema, Misuzi Oota, Hiromi Sairaiji, Naomi Oka, Rena Ichinose

DVD released: February 5th, 2008
Approximate running time:
86 minutes
Aspect Ratio:
2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release:
Exploitation Digital
Region Coding:
Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price:

Synopsis: Two girl gang leaders meet, formally introduce themselves and form a rivalry, even as they both flaunt authority. After a few catfights the feud builds until a Yakuza mob muscles in and they reluctantly declare a temporary truce to direct attention to the greater threat. Brutality, forced prostitution, and murder ensue. Once the bad guys are out of the way the final showdown between the debs is assured. Above all, face must be saved.

Sounds like you’ve seen this one before? Aside from the elite of Pinky Violence (such as the first three Scorpion films) many share a fairly generic plot, especially the girl gang films. As with many genre pictures, the fun is not necessarily where you’re going but how you get there. Fortunately our guide on this trip is the great Norifumi Suzuki. Girl Boss Revenge was immediately followed by three of his most celebrated achievements, Sex & Fury, Terrifying Girl’s High School, and School Of The Holy Beast. Perhaps he was growing weary of formula pictures since those films are stand-alone entries (he did not direct the sequel to Sex & Fury).

Reiko Ike was the star of the first two Girl Boss titles, then the main protagonist of Girl Boss Guerilla against new lead Miki Sugimoto. The twist here is that Reiko is not the rival, but nevertheless manages to be stripped and tortured by Yakusa. She next had her most iconic role in Sex And Fury. Miki Sugimoto plays her patented cool character that reaches the zenith in Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs.

The movie demonstrates in pre-credit sequences that logic and viable coincidence are trumped by breakneck pacing, cartoon violence, and a sense of amusement that is better integrated to the plot and less culture-bound than much humor of the era. One cultural curiosity is the notion that baseball players are low grade deities and their fall from grace is an extraordinary shame. Stir in Norifumi’s trademark nudity, torture, and occasional splashes of color and you have a comparatively mainstream outing that might be more appropriate an introduction than the triumvirate mentioned above.

The soundtrack is heavily inspired by funky blaxploitation vibes but is extraordinarily good within that mold. Certain motifs seem to have inspired the equally great soundtrack for Walter Hill’s The Warriors 6 years later. Reference the introduction of the ‘schoolgirl gang’ on the overpass. Beware of gratuitous schoolgirl breast flashing and gangfightus interruptus also in this scene.

The DVD:

This is a quite nice letterboxed widescreen anamorphic print. Slightly soft and some grain is evident due the 70’s film stock. The groovy soundtrack sounds great, and the subtitles are written with a sublime sense of humor. “Out of the way, maggots.”

Extras include a Norifumi Suzuki interview wherein he states that he only cranked out product for a consumer market, not anything of lasting merit. Rather humble, don’t you think? Also included are a stills gallery and trailers.

Girl Boss Revenge is fast-paced entertainment even if overly familiar in structure. After all, it’s only disposable pop culture.

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