Posted by Peter Hall - August 24th 2008 @ 8:31 pm

Directed by Kôji Kawano, 2007
Written by Satoshi Ôwada

Do not be deceived by the title of the year: THE GIRLS REBEL FORCE OF COMPETITIVE SWIMMERS.  Do not be deceived by a cover featuring swimsuit clad girls holding baseball bats and chainsaws.  Do not be deceived when I say that GIRLS REBEL FORCE features a math teacher dual wielding rulers and chopping off student’s heads.  Do not be deceived when I inform you that a school’s crazed doctor has injected the students and teachers with a virus that turns them blood thirsty, but that pool water neutralizes the subcutaneous injection, leaving only the swim team to defend the school.  And that one of them is an ex-spy or water terrorist or something.

Do not be deceived when I mention its repeated lesbian encounters, frequent nudity and amazing math teacher.  Please, do not be deceived into seeking out THE GIRLS REBEL FORCE OF COMPETITIVE SWIMMERS.  It is trash.

Cheaper than cheap, shot on video trash that devolves into softcore porn twice as often as it does into fun horror.  Or maybe your idea of fun horror is non-erotic scenes so forced you can see the poor actresses flinch at the degradation they’ve signed up for.  Apparently that is Kôji Kawano’s idea of fun.  My definition of what constitutes enjoyment is a bit different.

Maybe I’m not Japanese enough (note: I am not Japanese at all) to be down with it.  Certainly isn’t an issue of prudeness on this end as you are lucky I have yet to review CAMP CUDDLY PINE’S POWER TOOL MASSACRE (aside: porn has IMDb pages?).  Call me crazy, but I just don’t like trashy movies.  I’ve heard the argument that there are trashy movies and then fun trashy movies, but I can’t distinguish between the two.  I can tell you there are riotous scenes in GIRLS REBEL FORCE — I’ll even spoil the best; at one point a laser beam is shot out of a vagina.  Yeah, try connecting those dots. — but for the life of me I cannot distinguish how these scenes can be enjoyed as a whole when they are either preceded or proceeded by truly awkward scenes of unarrousing, forced nudity or, on more than once occasion, literal rape.

It just doesn’t work for me.  I feel safe saying rape never works for me.  Funny that.

However, I can confess that the film’s low rent sequences of blood spillage do work.  The math teacher is a marvelous bit of fun.  The plot is the kind of nonsense I love to see on the back of a DVD cover.  Past that, though, there is nothing redeemable to THE GIRLS REBEL FORCE OF COMPETITIVE SWIMMERS.  No ingenuity on the part of director Kawano.  It looks and sounds like a home video.  The performers are noticeably reticent to act out some of the script’s seedier moments.  Lest I remind you of the repeated rape…

I am no paragon of high class.  I love being crude.  The suspect segments are not crude nor are they artistically challenging.  They’ve clearly been thought to arouse someone, but have a polar effect on me.  There are few things that make me feel like I have a moral high ground and what THE GIRLS REBEL FORCE OF COMPETITIVE SWIMMERS represents may just be one of them.  That or the ground Kawano takes is low enough to create an illusion of high ground.  And it isn’t that the flick hits unprecedented levels of reprehension.  REBEL FORCE doesn’t deserve nearly that much credit.  If anything, it meets a minimum quota on bad taste, as I can imagine far worse.  Doesn’t make it any more appealing.

Either way, I feel better knowing I’m not the kind of guy who enjoys fetishistic sleaze.  If that’s your bag, I suppose you’ll have a blast.  Some people get off on exploitation, otherwise no one would be making it, which is a realization unto itself more unsettling than anything in the movie proper.

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