The first new heroine movie from Ring Divas for 2010 is a terrific entry in the company’s Girls of War series and represents a significant leap forward in the visual quality of American-produced films in this genre. While the movie basically follows the same formula as previous entries, and doesn’t push the envelope in terms of story or character, the presence of the beautiful Destiny Dumon in the lead role and improvements in cinematography make this a terrific heroine movie.
There is a lot to like about Girls of War III, and the single best aspect of the movie is Destiny Dumon, who looks stunning and has a perfect body. She is the best Ring Divas heroine since Meng Lau’s “Empress Sayuri” from the Sayuri Blood Chronicles series. While not quite up to the level of Lau’s performance in terms of sheer acting, Dumon is still very good and sells her performance well enough to make it all believable. And she looks amazing in both her heroine getup and her bra-and-panties torture rack outfit. Dumon is the best heroine since Sayuri, so it looks like Ring Divas has found the right leading lady to take this series forward.
Visually, this is the best looking heroine movie yet produced by Ring Divas, and rivals the look of the best Japanese productions in terms of lighting and cinematography. While these visual flourishes are occasionally over the top (and may not be truly necessary), they add a visual flair that is absent in most independently produced films in this genre.
The plot follows the basic “heroine movie” formula. A nameless heroine infiltrates the bad guys’ hideout, fights a couple of them, gets overpowered and defeated, and is then captured and tortured to the delight of the villains. Girls of War III is no different, and Ring Divas has a way of distilling this plot down to its basic elements more efficiently than any other company. There is no dialogue, a very brief fight scene, and the torture scenes are typically shot in one take. They must crank these movies out in no time compared to the Zen and Giga producers, who film multiple fight scenes with dozens of extras, quick-cut editing, multiple angles, etc. In any event, the formula works here as usual, although there are a few problems with Ring Divas’ approach.
It is difficult to tell sometimes whether one particular event leads to another, which event happened first or last, etc. Since scenes in the Girls of War and Sayuri Chronicles films are shown out of order (with the exception of the first Sayuri Blood Chronicles film), it can sometimes make for a difficult viewing experience. The first scene in GOW3 (spoiler warning) appears to end with the death of the heroine, but so does the last scene. So it’s impossible to know which of these events occurred first. Also, the scene in which the heroine is captured by the bad guys takes place in episode 2, when it actually was the first event to take place.
I think this “fractured narrative” approach is a mistake. If you watch the Japanese-produced heroine films of Giga and Zen, you’ll find the same narrative formula employed again and again. They have built a thriving media mini-empire by doing this, so I think it would be wise to follow their example.
For the best experience, it’s important that the viewer knows what happened prior to the torture scenes. The heroine is always portrayed as a tough fighting/killing machine who is only defeated by the cheating, unfair ways of the bad guys. She is able to single-handedly take down several henchmen before being captured. This happens in every Zen Pictures / Akiba Heroine film. It all adds meaning to the torture scenes that isn’t there in the Ring Divas productions, which results in a slightly less enjoyable film.
But, then again, if you’re not an overly demanding connoisseur of heroine films, then this type of thing probably won’t matter. (And your tastes may be entirely different anyway). For viewers looking for a very good heroine torture film with a gorgeous heroine, Girls of War 3 won’t disappoint. I give it a B+.