I have to admit I thought Tim was winding me up when Female Fight Club emerged through my letter box. See I have something of a predilection for movies that feature pugnacious tough girls with bad attitudes. I was overdosing on Aliens, China O Brien and Red Sonja as a young whelp whilst the other boys at school were swooning over Pamela Anderson or Cindy Crawford. Nope it was Kathy Long, Cynthia Rothrock and Michiko Nishiwaki that turned young Beanie into a walking heart eyes emoticon. All curly perms, acid tongues and spin kicks. Be still my beating heart.
So with that in mind, I patiently waited till the house was empty, closed the curtains and settled down to cast my unbiased eyes over Female Fight Club. I have to admit that aside from Dolph Lundgren, none of the other members of the cast were immediately familiar to me. Amy Johnston is a stuntwoman of some renown and this is her first (and I’d imagine last) stab at being the lead.
Johnston plays Becca, a former participant in illegal underground fighting; who, true to genre tradition, has left that life behind that hard knock life and now looks after knackered old dogs in a shelter. Iron Lady with a heart of gold and that.
Her little sister Kate turns up like the proverbial bad penny to throw a spanner in the works of Becca’s humble existence. Kate owes money to some bad people and needs to raise the readies. But instead of taking her PS4 to Cash Converters like everyone else Kate decides it’d be a tremendous idea to head down to the underground car park and have a tear up for money like big sister used to. This obviously leads to a moral quandary for Becca who, at her father’s request (played by Dolph Lundgren) finds herself inevitably being drawn back into the world she tried to escape from and training up a crew of feisty girls who fancy their chances.
Things progress as you might expect. Johnston is able enough but hasn’t got the chops to handle a lead role, the main bad guy is a laughable ham and Lundgren is dialling it in. I mean he spends most of the time on the phone from the clink offering his errant daughters pearls of cell block wisdom. I can only assume his inclusion in this movie is because he owed someone a favour and had already pawned his PS4.
Female Fight Club is a low budget action film that harks back to the sort of straight to video cobblers that was my bread and butter when I was 13. I mean, I’m wearing a No Retreat No Surrender shirt as I type this for Christ’s sake, but in 2018 it’s really not doing it for me. The fight scenes lack bite and brutality, the choreography is elementary in that regard. Given that Johnston also starred in the similarly themed Lady Bloodfight a few years ago, this movie seems like a backward step for her. Whilst Bloodfight was never going to win any Oscars, it was at least aware of its audience and their expectations. The fights were savage and the choreography exciting. There were training montages, daft spirituality and the other competitors at least looked convincing. The other fighters in this film look like they’ve just come from a Zumba class before heading down the NCP to earn a quid.
Nice try everyone but it’s a pass from me. Nathan Bean