“This is at least better than Transmorphers.”
I have a lot of time for The Asylum. I met head honcho David Michael Latt back in 2002, when Sharknado was not even a twinkle in his eye, and have been following the studio’s rise to pop-culture icon ever since. They’re best known for their “mockbusters”, designed to cash in on bigger-budget title – including the sublimely-titled Snakes on a Train, which didn’t really have much in common with Samuel L. Jackson’s opus – and also cheesy monster movies, typically involving over-sized or over-aggressive species. This doesn’t fall into either category, and to be honest, isn’t one of their more successful efforts. While obviously not intended to be taken entirely seriously, based simply on a title which had me looking over my shoulder before clicking it on Netflx, it isn’t self-aware enough to succeed as a knowing parody. Nor is it competent enough to stand on its own merits.
The heroines are four – yes – Asian school girls, whose illicit evening out in a nightclub is derailed when they are drugged and raped. After the police are unable to take any action, one of them subsequently commits suicide, and the other three decide to locate and take revenge on the perpetrators, working their way up the chain of supply. Naturally, this requires them to go undercover at a strip-club. It’s not long before the dead bodies are piling up, and the police, led by a dogged detective (Johnson) with a personal interest in the case, are closing in on the perpetrators. Nor is the douche who runs the market in unconscious jailbait happy at their actions, and kidnaps the trio, locking them up in a basement cage where they will be perpetually on-call to service his customers.
There are a couple of directions this could have taken, but the unwillingness to commit to a specific mode of operation – parody or serious? – leaves it coming off as half-hearted and a pale imitation of genuine Japanese imports like Hard Revenge Milly. One moment it’s acknowledging its silliness e.g. the strip-club MC’s dead-pan announcement that as well as Asian School Girl night, it’s also Plushies and Furries, the next, it has a rape scene that is genuinely unpleasant. It’s clear they aren’t “real” school girls – Scarlet is more tattooed and pierced than your typical merchant seaman – but Aotaki, as the fiery Hannah, is the only one to deliver a performance that makes you believe, yes, they could be capable of slicing off dicks. The rest of the cast lack the necessary intensity to sell the concept, and while I can look past the obvious flaws in plot logic, this certainly falls into the category of a film which fails to live up to its poster.
Dir: Lawrence Silverstein
Star: Sam Aotaki, Catherine Kim, Minnie Scarlet, Andray Johnson