First off, it is quite difficult to talk to people you know about how how have recently watched a film titled Asian Schoolgirls and not have them look at you like you are about describe a porn flick you recently viewed. Or a soft porn, for that matter. “No, no, I swear, it’s an actual action movie. I saw it on Netflix!” Eyes roll slightly, and you feel like a bit of a creep, regardless.
But, there is indeed a movie called Asian Schoolgirls on Netflix, and it’s not a porn. Well, there is a lot of nudity. But there are no sex scenes. Well, aside from the uncomfortable, but not graphic, rape scenes. But at least there’s not a lot of overt sexuality. Aside from, of course, the many scenes inside a strip club where the girls put on full dance routines. Or the microscopic skirts they always seem to be wearing. Anyway…
Asian Schoolgirls is an action/revenge movie about four friends who decide to go out to a club one night. Armed with fake IDs, they meet a couple of fine young gentlemen who lure them to an “after party.” The girls are drugged and raped by several men, then unceremoniously dumped on the side of the road, barely remembering anything about the night. The police are of little help to their situation, and the event dramatically changes the girls. One of them ends up committing suicide, and the three remaining vow revenge for the death of their friend, and for the terrible thing that has happened to all of them. This leads the girls to acquire some weapons, and train in order to take down the underage sex ring that was a part of their horrible night. Thus, the revenge, and the piling up of bodies, begins.
Strangely, for a B-movie, I feel like there is a lot to say about Asian Schoolgirls. By no means is this a good movie, but by the end of it…I kind of liked it. I realize that my credibility as someone who loves movies and loves to write about the ones I have seen may be out the window by admitting that, but I’m okay with that. The movie is unbelievably straightforward and predictable, full of terrible plot holes, poor dialogue, and atrocious acting (every male in this film could make up a list of the worst acting performances I have ever seen in my life, but the girls aren’t too awful). The majority of the sets look like it was shot with $50 and a guy who knows a guy who can give them access to a warehouse for an afternoon. The action sequences are often decent, but more often, laughably bad, especially considering how three teen girls learned in a couple of days how to basically be ninja masters, and trained with a variety of weapons, able to take down goons of all types. It takes longer to learn martial arts for real, doesn’t it?
The premise of the film is about empowerment of women, and no longer being the victim. Getting revenge for the horrors that they had to face. Makes sense, and the movie really could have been about that. It could have been, but is it really? The writers and director were too busy finding every way to sexualize the girls in the film, that the message, if they had even intended there to be one, was lost. Sure, the girls want revenge for being raped. And they deserve their revenge. But in order to get money for the weapons they need, they all become strippers for a while. This allows the director to show us how they become strippers overnight, and make a lot of cash. Sure, it is also a chance for us to see them in their underwear and topless, as well, but it’s all about empowerment, no? Even during the suicide scene, where a girl takes her life because of the pressures put on her by her parents and the dismay they feel with her being raped, instead of going for solemn and dreary, the director makes sure that we get a shot up her skirt before she plunges from a building to her death.
There is no question that this film is sexploitation, playing off the school girl fetish held by so many. And even more specifically, the Asian school girl fetish. White blouses with short skirts and thigh high socks. We get it. They don’t even try to hide it, or pretend that their movie is about more than cute Asian girls, given the title, and even the poster, for the film.
At least the actresses seem to be pretty comfortable doing the majority of their scenes in various stages of undress, or even topless. Was that a part of the casting ad?
The three main actresses themelves aren’t too bad. They try. Hannah, May, and Suzy (played by Sam Aotaki, Catherine Kim, and Belle Hengsathorn, respectively) are all innocent, but have an edge that develops over the course of the film, to the point where they are willing to kill to gain their revenge. Look at me, pretending that there is actual character development in the movie! Moving on…
Sam Aotaki is probably the highlight of the film. She has been seen previously in the absolutely horrendous Alpha House (read my review here: https://gatsbyfuneral.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/alpha-house-film-review/), but shows potential that she could be a decent actress when all is said and done. She has a definite edge to her, and we kind of believe that she would be out for the revenge that the girls are seeking. For the role in Asian Schoolgirls, she has a couple of the main features that the directors must have been looking for: she is quite beautiful, and she is willing to take her shirt off. Often. And for no apparent reason, at times. Aotaki has potential as an actress, but with a resume that already features Asian Schoolgirls and Alpha House, it doesn’t look like there will be tons of opportunities for her. She has an edgy look, with her many tattoos and believable sneer, and she did the best of the entire cast with the dreary and cheesy script she was provided with.
I typically don’t like describing specific scenes in a film, but there is one that is so laughably out of place, that it even manages ruin what little credibility this film had at being serious (which is another issue, is this movie supposed to be serious, or comedic? Or darkly comedic? They couldn’t really decide). While literally caged in a basement, one of the girls is hauled away to be tortured. After worrying a little bit about her, the other two girls cuddle up to one another, and then begin to kiss, undressing each other. I may not know much about this stuff, but when your friend is being tortured, and you are stuck in a cage by people who want to kill you, is this really the best time to begin exploring your curious sexuality? No fetish stone was left unturned by the director, and perhaps he was just looking for another way to have the actresses show their breasts one more time before the film ended.
If there had been some time and thought put into this film, it could have been pretty solid. A revenge flick, or girls trying to deal with their past in the only way they know how. It has worked before. But the director seemed to have too much an infatuation with seeing his leading ladies in skimpy clothing to really care about delivering any kind of enduring theme or message. Not that one clicks on Asian Schoolgirls in order to have their life changed. They want cheesy action, and a way to pass an hour and a half. In this film, they get it.
Asian Schoolgirls is pretty terrible. But, at the end of the day, I can’t say that I hated it. When looking for a slice of cheese, I got exactly what I expected from this movie. If you are in the perfect mood to enjoy something terrible and B-grade, this just might be the ticket.
And now, I know that it is possible to write nearly 1,400 words about a movie called Asian Schoolgirls. I guess that is off my bucket list?