Asian School Girls
Written by Tim Culley
Directed by Lawrence Silverstein
Four girls are drugged and raped, then set out for revenge in Asylum’s Asian School Girls. Asylum has been becoming a big source of exploitation film that has a more rougher tone. Their film Jailbait was a dark women in prison film complete with all sorts of abuses against the main character. Asian School Girls falls in the rape and revenge category, a genre I don’t watch nor write about that often anymore. Partially because my taste generally runs towards more fun films, and partially because of the of the disturbing things that come with those films. Some of the films seem made by people who are far more interested in the rape part than the revenge part. Luckily, Asian School Girls only dwells slightly with the rape and spends most of the film following the girls as they get revenge. Of course, things don’t go smoothly, and soon bodies are piling up all over, women are caged, and things turn into a bloody mess.
What we do get is some violent fun, with many awful people meeting deserved violent ends. And, yes, if you are a fan of dudes getting stabbed in the junk, you will be happy. A danger in a film like this is it becoming too exploitative, resting its allure to the stars being Asian, there isn’t much of that at all. You could switch them out with four ladies of any race and you’d only have to change the title and like one or two lines. If anything, these women are less like the stereotypical Asian girls, they don’t act submissive and surrender, they fight back and conquer.
Asian School Girls‘s weakest link is also its strongest section. The actresses who play the lead girls are relatively new, and the rapid pace of filming on a low-budget film doesn’t accommodate a lot of second takes. So occasionally line reads are a bit wonky. I know Minnie Scarlet was a last minute replacement who originally turned down a role, but she helps bring some energy the the group. Sam Aotaki plays a more laid back character, which makes her spurts of violence and profanity more clashing. Poor Catherine Hyein Kim’s character May gets the short end of the stick development-wise, with the other girls taking up most of the slots, but she does the best with what she’s got. Belle Hensathorn puts in a nice performance as the sheltered Suzy, torn between fun and very strict parents.
The girls will occasionally start bickering with each other as events unfold. This is actually sort of realistic because in extreme situations people will start freaking out and arguing, as some people can handle things better than others. Especially when there are different goals and ideas in mind. Despite their differences, the girls work together when the chips are down and make a good team. The arguing is occasionally tripped up by lines that sound like they look much better written than said aloud.
Hannah, Vivian, and May refuse to let what happened to them define their life, and instead decide to fight back. They set goals, do their homework, and use their unique talents to acquire the tools they need to go after the scum who wronged them. Not everything goes off without a hitch, and the stakes continue to get raised. At one point there is a torture dungeon, and May is strapped up and an evil man is brandishing threatening gynecological instruments and mentioning female circumcision. Despite a dose of screaming, they (thankfully) don’t go through with the torture. Asian School Girls knows how to thread the line without crossing over into bad taste.
Having four fresh young faces helps you to identify with the girls, because who would believe there was a bunch of mid-30s high school students? (Outside of 90210!) Parts of the film look like the script changed a bit while filming was going on, specifically what appears to be a major boss character turns out to be a random client, and the real big bad guy doesn’t even show up for a majority of the film. It’s also a bit obvious which of the stars does less pole dancing than the others.
Though if you are a pole dancing fan, there is a lot of pole dancing during a long montage bit as the girls stake out a strip joint undercover to catch some of the bad dudes. Lots and lots of pole dancing, and alternative rock. Several of the songs sound like mockbusters of their own, especially what sounds a lot like Creed during one scene where the Asian School Girls are Asian School Murdering a bunch of goons.
One weak point is the girls are rescued from dungeon slavery by guys. Luckily, it’s not the big finale, but it still comes off different than the rest of the scenes of the girls overcoming the odds. Throughout the film, a cop named Jack (Andray Johnson) occasionally checks in on the girls and is still working on their case, despite the often angry vulgar responses from the girls and his own department ordering him off the case for reasons unknown (but obvious if you think about it for half a second). He doesn’t come in guns a’blazing to save the girls, but does help make their multiple homicide charges disappear.
This is writer Tim Culley’s first film. Director Lawrence Silverstein only has one prior credit, 2011’s Freerunner, which features a parkour guy with a bomb on his neck. Asylum likes giving new creative talent a chance, both because they provide original ideas and they come cheap. There is a proud tradition of
Despite the weaker moments, Asian School Girls is a pretty solid little flick. The script could have used a few more drafts, the trajectory could have been a bit smoother, but it comes together into a nice update of an old formula. I doubt this is the last we’ve seen of the actresses, they have the potential to build solid careers. Overall, fans of smaller genre cinema will have more to love than to hate.
Rated 7/10 (gun friend, gun, cgi bloodbath, bad dude, bad dude, good brother, baddest dude)
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