|Joshikyôei hanrangun  - review by Alex |
aka. Attack Girls Swim Team vs the Unliving Dead
Director: Koji Kawano
Starring: Sasa Handa Yuria Hidaka
With Zombieland on the way and Dead Snow still fresh in our minds, I thought it would be a good time to review Joshikyoei hanrangun or as the Chinese call it, The Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers. There’s no way around it so I’ll just come out and say it: this movie is lewd, violent, gratuitous, campy and just plain awful. However, in spite of all these debilitating flaws, it somehow manages to be entertaining and, much like my colleagues, if I’m not bored or seeking egress from my chambers, then it wasn’t a total loss. That being said, what you must come to terms with early on is that this is a Japanese film about an all-girls swim team fending off a viral outbreak in their school while donning one-piece swimsuits. If your brain hasn’t already made travel arrangements after reading that premise, then be prepared to cope with the abandonment issues that follow upon actually viewing the film.
Unlike many of the zombie films we’ve reviewed in our time, this one doesn’t even bother with a semi-plausible premise and instead feels like an hour and twenty minute train wreck the whole way through. Supposedly, a virus is going around school and the people administering the vaccination may not be operating in good faith. It soon becomes clear that anyone who has had the “vaccination” is changing into a zombie and the only people unaffected are the girls in the swim team. Why? Because the chlorine or cleaning chemicals kill the virus. Let’s back up for a minute. The zombie virus, a strain so powerful that a single drop of infected blood can turn a person in a matter of minutes…felled by a splash of pool water. The stupidity doesn’t end there and the fact that the stupidity just continues to build upon itself forces this kind of absurd and surreal vibe that becomes so infuriatingly awful that one can’t help but laugh; either they laugh at themselves for watching this or they laugh at the idea that someone sat down and thought of this.
In addition to infected students, which are really just generic zombies, are the infected faculty members. The nurse of the school was ordered to give the faculty a “special” dosage of the vaccine and didn’t bother to wonder why. The infected faculty members and any encounter involving them are easily the best parts of the film. Unlike the other infected, they seem to retain the ability to speak and say some of the most ridiculous things. The math teacher becomes a sinister force of nature, slicing and slitting with his metal rulers while flinging deadly protractors with sniper accuracy. The English teacher stalks the halls with a katana while speaking in some hilariously bad “engrish.”
The long short of it is that the movie doesn’t necessarily fail, but it doesn’t necessarily succeed either. It manages to be so bad that it’s entertaining in some morbid way. If you’re into gore, while this doesn’t raise the bar, you should find what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, what this all boils down to is a fatuous display of both violence and skin. Good to unwind, but you probably shouldn't bring this up at your next Bible study.