My notes on Female Fight Club (aka Female Fight Squad), out on UK DVD March 26.
Having done a ton of stunt work in movies big and small, notably doing some of the fight moves for Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad and Black Widow in Captain America Winter Soldier, martial arts proficient Amy Johnston – not to be confused with Amy Jo Johnson, the Pink Power Ranger – has been establishing her own identity as a direct-to-DVD/download lead, with roles like Lady Bloodfight and ‘Jane the Ripper’ in Accident Man. This quickie from director/co-wruiter Miguel Ferrer – not to be confused with the late Twin Peaks character actor – finds plenty of excuses for the star to show off her moves, whether training a crew of supporting ass-kickettes or going all out for righteous revenge on folks who have done her and her family wrong. It also gentles her into the acting business, by giving her a complicated relationship with her trouble magnet sister Kate (Cortney Palm) and some love interest with a cop (young Tom Cruise clone Sean Faris) … not to mention a few phone call scenes with her imprisoned Dad (Dolph Lundgren), who is doing time for an earlier revenge spree.
Ferrer and co-writwer Anastazja Davis open as Becca the Beast (Johnston) goes up against Claire the Bull (Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez) in a bout held in the traditional darkened factory, then flash back to a lot of plot involving her time working at an animal shelter, a debt to crook Landon Jones (Rey Goyos) run up by her sister, a sick child (!), an unjust conviction, some betting shenanigans, and a trio of young fighters (Levy Tran, Folake Olowofeyeku, Jeanette Samano) Kate persuades her to train. Oddly, none of her pupils last that long in their bouts – suggesting the heroine isn’t that much of a coach – and it takes a bunch more plot to get us back to the opening battle of the beastesses, which then doesn’t play out the way we expect. For a straight-ahead whackfest, it’s rather overpopulated – we haven’t even got to the Brooklynese gym owner (Chuck Zito) and the villain’s pet hit lady (Briana Marin) – but does have an eccentric streak, with a baddie who makes bird-houses to relieve tension and keeps his choc ices in a freezer full of his dead debtors, and Johnston narrows her eyes nicely before dishing out appropriate punishment. Oh, and Dolph gets to see off three hulking cons in one jail scene – which is always good value.
Here’s a trailer.
Lady Bloodfight was a better showcase for her talents – Amy doesn’t get enough to do here, the plot’s too easily distracted by everyone else.