Girl Boss: Escape From Reform School

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“Bad girls go to…the seaside?”

Serial escaper Ruriko (Sugimoto) is more persistent than good, and is dragged back to reform school after her seventh escape attempt ends the same way as her previous six. After whizzing through most of the standards of the women-in-prison genre in about 30 minutes or so e.g. corrupt staff, gratuitous nudity, solitary confinement, etc. she and a few of her colleagues (supposedly teenagers, but that clearly ain’t the case) break out as a group. Splitting up to avoid detection, they arrange a rendezvous at a deserted building by the sea, from where they plan to hijack a ship and escape Japan for good. Truth be told, a sense of urgency isn’t exactly top of the their skill-set, and as they meander their way there, various escapades happen, of which the only significant one is Ruriko meeting, by chance, a male criminal (Watase), who is also trying to out-run the law. But the police are also keen to ensure that they run their record in terms of Ruriko to a perfect 8-for-8…

I watched this less than a week ago, but already, I can’t remember very much about it. Sugimoto is her usual charismatic self, and the film is certainly more interesting when she’s on-screen. However, the supporting characters are entirely forgettable, and in my mind, all merged into one amorophous, largely uninteresting blob. That’s particularly problematic after they split up, which is when the film seems to lose direction entirely, meandering around until the finale, where the police besiege the perps in their beach-house. I have to say, the major takeway from that is how incredibly inept the Japanese SWAT team are. Not only are they easily held at bay by criminals armed with precisely one gun, they mill around like disturbed sheep in the face of anything coming the other way, e.g. burning tyres, and are completely oblivious to even the most basic law-enforcement principle, such as “maintaining a perimeter.” If those are supposed to be the elite, it makes me wonder how the hell Ruriko managed to get herself caught the previous seven times she escaped.

It’s probably significant that the lack of compentence by the special forces of law and order is my lasting memory here. While competently made, and touching all the expected bases [that’s clear from the way solitary confinement in the prison involves Ruriko both bondaged up and topless!], it doesn’t have any real heart or passion, and if you skip this one, you won’t be missing much.

Dir: Sadao Nakajima
Star: Miki Sugimoto, Yuko Kano, Hiroko Isayama, Tsunehiko Watase

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