Lunatic Frog Women

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“How can you not love a film with that title? Well… “

This came out the same year as Golden Queens Commando and Pink Force Commando and feels like a Taiwanese knock-off, taking a similarly bulk approach to its action heroines. They escape from (what I discovered lately was) a North Vietnamese prison, with the help of the warden, who is in love with one of his captives – he comes along too, and they all end up on an island where there’s a guerilla force, run by the Captain, whom we’ll get back to later. They become part of her “Ladies Marine Corps”, and start to train. One of the girls’ mothers shows up, offering to take her back to Hong Kong, but the farewell party is interrupted by pirates, who kill the mother. Two of the platoon desert. Finally – and we’re talking an hour into a movie that runs only 85 minutes – the training is over, and the Slightly-Irritated Frogwomen (movie titler, please note) head off on their first mission, to recover a cache of diamonds hidden on a North Vietnamese boat.

I confess a palpable sense of disappointment when I realized that title was inappropriately spaced: it should be “Frogwomen” – as in scuba divers, not the bizarre results of some medically dubious experimentation. Which would have been a great deal more entertaining than watching apparently endless training footage of them swimming underwater, which is nowhere near as exciting as the director thinks. Indeed, between the opening prison-break and the final assault, this is incredibly dull, to the point that, between the film and my wife’s pasta (which should only be available with a prescription, and not eaten before operating heavy machinery), it’s possible I might have closed my eyes and listened to the dialogue now and again. The action, when it eventually appears, isn’t bad: however, there’s far too little of it and the film’s pacing is terrible.

Minor points to note. If the soundtrack seems like it comes from a totally different film, that’s because it did. Alex In Wonderland notes it comes from The Road Warrior The three names listed above are the only ones listed in the credits of the English-language version, which seems only to exist in a version with Greek subs. It’s not clear if those actresses include the only now-recognizable face – I suspect no-one would have predicted at the time, that she’d go on to play, 18 years later, a major role in a movie nominated for an Oscar. For the captain is none other than Cheng Pei-Pei, who was Jade Fox in Crouching Tiger. Who knew?

Dir: T. Som Chai
Star: Patty Tie, Cathy Lee, Diana Dee
a.k.a. Virgin Commandos

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