Monday, December 27, 2010

The Fighters (1982)

1982 - Perempuan Bergairah (P.T. Parkit Films)

[International title “The Fighters”, also released on German VHS as “Mad Fighters”; re-released in the US by Troma Films as “Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters”]

Director Jopi Burnama Writer Deddy Armand Producer Dhamoo Punjabi

TROMA VERSION Director Charles Kaufman Writers Charles Kaufman, Joey Gaynor Creative Consultant Straw Weisman

Cast Eva Arnaz (Bambi – Troma version only), Barry Prima (Barney – Troma version only), Ruth Pelipessi, Yustine Rais, Leyla Sagita, Wieke Widowati

Bill Gibron’s review from the DVD Verdict website:

Okay, here's the story with Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters. The movie begins with some Asian women wrestling. There's a kid filled with sickness coughing up a lung while watching the match on TV. And then…well, then some more Asian people talk about diseases and one of the actresses discusses making money as a grappler. Then…the mob, or Yakuza, or some Eastern version of the mafia…the syndicate, that's right, the syndicate shows up and they control all the wrestling in Malaysia, or wherever we are and…it's Indonesia, that's right. Well, the crooks threaten people. So an Amer-Asian man helps the main female fighter to…um…fight. And then there is some more fighting. There is a subplot involving gambling or some manner of match fixing, and then we learn that the little boy from the beginning of the film needs a major medical procedure or his brain will explode, or something. All the while the syndicate is trying to control the sport and business with hired goons and…oh yeah! Right! There's also an undercurrent of unspoken lesbianism in the female mat world (imagine that) since a weird woman leader of a rival gang of wrestlers keeps giving our leading lady big moon eyes. A character or two gets tortured and there is a sex scene and…what was the name of this movie again? I think I've forgotten.

Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters is one of those movies that is so blatantly incomprehensible that you could watch it a hundred times with pad, pencil, and several copies of Asian Actors Illustrated and you'd still find yourself swamped in dead-end plotlines, strangely circular dialogue, and the random insertion of scenes into the story for no other reason than their sexual or action/violence content. You think David Lynch's Lost Highway is confusing? Still scratching your head over that metaphysical gross-out art piece known as Begotten? Those stylized puzzlers have nothing on this Indonesian conundrum. Obviously, the movie portends to follow the familiar formula of a skilled athlete rescuing her ill brother from certain death by playing within a corrupt but financially viable system. But occasionally, the movie throws this foundation out of focus by highlighting weird suggestions of potential girl-on-girl grinding, introducing incomplete ancillary character backstories, and editing action scenes with a bushido blade. On the Hong Kong scale of successful chop sockey cinema, this rates right below The Adventures of Milo and Otis for fun kung fu fighting, and your average Russian cattle porn has more linear narrative threads. The girlie wrestling is as suggestive and sexual as having a boil lanced, and just when you think you've got everything correctly figured out, another cracked curveball comes meandering over the frame to flummox you all over again. Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters, besides having nothing to do with liberty or rage, can't figure out if it wants to be a wrestling pic with kickboxing or a kickboxing flick with women in unitards. Either way, it's boring, bland and baffling.

So what does Troma do when they pick up this paltry poverty row reject? Do they simply offer it up as a sample of foreign filmmaking at its most flabby and say, "Sorry folks, but it is kinda stupid, huh?" No, what the do instead is make it a billion times more incredibly asinine by letting founder Lloyd Kaufman's brother Charlie take a What's Up, Tiger Lily? crack at comedying up the crap. Indeed, with the new "funny" overdubbed soundtrack he makes it worse! That's right, when it was simply a sloppy wrestling women movie with unfathomable narrative flubs, it was a forgivable cinematic fart. But when Charles Kaufman tinkers with the tale, he really lets one fly, and the stench spreads like a degenerative case of olfactory awfulness throughout your system. Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters, the dumber dubbed version, is a crude, lewd story of implied incest, infant penile dysfunction, and incredibly raunchy retorts. Kaufman's royal blue humor startles and soils you in a way that, at first, is mildly amusing, but over the course of 90 minutes grows crass and tasteless. For example, the made-up malady for the sick little boy in the film is some strange anatomical idea that his vas deferens runs from his testicles into his head. So he is not supposed to be aroused, lest his skull explodes with sperm. Hardy har har. I mean, the kid is like eight! If you don't think Chuck can draw out multiple gags out of that little bit of biology, you are dead wrong. In addition, crude crap and dick remarks are slathered on in overkill fashion, and just when you think the revelry can't get any more retarded, the male Ameri-Asian lead is turned into an Elvis impersonator, and a very bad one at that. Unfunny voices, near incomprehensible dialogue exchanges, and a plethora of bodily noises create a cinematic experience even more painful than trying to decode the original's intentions. You'll need a shower with real lava to cleanse your carcass of this crusty caca. Re-dubbing a movie has never really worked: Allen's Lily is limited, Kung Pow: Enter The Fist, is just cow dung, and without Godzilla or Mothra around to geek things up, there is no real reason to see or hear Asians speaking sans their natural language. It has been known to be funny in small snippets, but "the hilarious 'Tromatized' post-synchronization" on this film is a consistently flat failure.

As for the DVD offering from the mighty mad minds at Troma, Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters is fairly low grade. The image is mediocre, faded and full screen. The soundtracks swings between muddled and ear piercing. The introduction by Lloyd himself is entertaining, as usual, and the promotional material from Troma is always good for a laugh. Too bad the movie it's supporting is so stupid, in either format.

Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters is the kind of movie you'll watch hoping it delivers on its promising setup and title titillation. But the minute you've suffered through the un-dubbed dyspepsia of the original version or the complete vulgarity of the "reimagined" dialogue, you'll want to wash your brain out with Drain-o. No amount of broad butt kicking and/or gal-on-gal mat mambo can make up for the ridiculous, repulsive movie plot here, whatever it is.

Monkeyface’s review from the Internal Bleeding website:

What do you get when you cross an Indonesian women’s wrestling movie, Troma Entertainment, and an action star who talks like Elvis? You get one of the funniest redubs in film history… Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters! FFFF is the story of Bambi, an exceptional Greco-roman wrestler on her way to the top. Unfortunately her brother has come down with a fatal case of dickosis, a made-up ailment where a buildup of semen goes straight to your brain. The only remedy is surgery, or oral release by a hooker. It’s a shame, but I guess there aren’t any 10 year old prostitutes in the Philippines… I had heard differently!

Along comes Nathan, a trophy shop owner who is ready to help Bambi get the money she needs for her brother’s surgery. But being a trophy model is an unthinkable career, and Bambi not-so-politely declines all of Nathan’s advances. On the way home from an event, Bambi and her best friend Mia get in a little tussle and are aided by karate master and Elvis impersonator Barney. He is also a professional wrestling coach, and after a little persuasion he talks the 2 girls into joining an underground tag-team wrestling federation. As you can imagine a love story begins brewing between Bambi and Barney (who doesn’t love an Elvis impersonator). They are well on their way to making enough money for the surgery… but there is trouble brewing around every corner!

This is by far my favorite Troma movie, even if it is just a redub. I caught this flick on Cinemax in the late 80’s and it took me about 12 years before I could find the movie on VHS. There is some great action throughout including the female wrestling and some pretty good kung-fu scenes. But the real treat here is the comedy. Even though the words might not match up with the lips, the story Troma added to the scenes is just priceless! You get an Elvis impersonator, a talking snake from the ghetto, a girl who hums some of her scenes and a guy nicknamed Monkeyface… what is not to like!!! If you love Troma films, or really any kind of mindless comedy you need to check this film out. I have 2 words for you – Tuna Melt!


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