Thursday, 7 April 2016

Go For Broke!/V Madonna Daisenso (1985)

Every year, the violent motorbike-riding thugs of Yagyu High attack the good and pure students of Hopehill High (that's what the school's called in the english dub, I assume it has a different name in the original version) and demand monetary tribute. One day, six months before the next attacks, Hopehill's student council is discussing this, or rather, discussing how to negotiate a smaller tribute. The student president's younger sister hears this and convinces them that they need to stop being cowards and come up with a plan to fight back.

Though Yagyu's students are tougher and meaner than those of Hopehill, the president's sister has a plan. First, they need to recruit stronger fighters, all of whom are female (to "humiliate" the all-male Yagyu gang). Next, spend the next few months training under the outside fighters (or "Madonnas") and developing bombs and other weapons. She also comes up with a foolproof battle plan, chrecking it via computer simulation before the real battle.

These outside fighters include a Ninja movie actress who does her own stunts, a sukeban who dropped out of Hopehill the previous year, but wants in on the upcoming fights, and a wrestler with a whip-weilding evil nazi gimmick. Although two of them are adults, they all enrol in the school and wear its uniform while they're there. That's the kind of thing that can happen in the world of Japanese deliquency, I guess? Like in season 2 of Majisuka Gakuen, when Shibuya decides being an adult is boring and re-enrols in high school to go back to being a sukeban.

Unfortunately, though the Hopehill students win the battle with ease, it turns out that the war has only just started, as the Yagyu gang, under the leadership of an evil dominatrix named Panther Eye, start enacting brutal, horrific attacks on the Madonnas when they're alone at night, even going as far as kidnapping one of them and holding her to ransom. All this drives the Hopehill kids to despair up until the point that Panther Eye sends them a message via computer that she will turn their school into hell. This inspires them to vow that "even if we lose, let's go down fighting". Of course, this leads to an even bigger second battle, with the odds ever harder against the Madonnas and Hopehill High, and even higher stakes resting on their resourcefulness and use of guerilla tactics.

Though it was made before I was even born, on paper, Go For Broke! seems like it was made specifically to appeal to my tastes and interests. It's got female wrestlers, sukeban, 80s Japanese computer graphics, and all manner of other cool stuff. In practice, though it's not an all-time classic and it does have a few problems (it's occasionally a little hard to follow, heavy artillery seems to magically appear from nowhere, even the good guys don't mind gunning enemies down willy-nilly, and so on. Plus the usual problem delinquent movies have, that there seems to be almost no adult presence in the world, and no police involvement, no matter how far the violence escalates), it is a fun, entertaining, and very likable movie. It also inhabits a kind of middle ground between the gritty sex and violence of the sukeban movies of the 70s, and the more wholesome action of 80s TV shows like the classic Sukeban Deka (and, of course, its sequels and spin-offs). If you're not some kind of boring snob who needs frivolties like CGI special effects or even decent picture quality (the only copies I know of that exist of this movie are pretty grainy VHS rips. The one I have has english dubbed dialogue and hardcoded greek subtitles), you should definitely give it a try. I don't imagine anyone reading a blog like this would be one of those boring snobs, though. There's not really much for them here, to be honest.