After the success of Ring Divas‘ original heroine destruction movie Sayuri Blood Chronicles, the company produced the first in the Girls of War series. This one stars wrestling starlet “SoCal Val” (aka Valerie Wyndham) as the heroine and features all of the action we’ve come to expect from the Girls of War series, and a lot of the same flaws that tend to crop up in Ring Divas’ heroine torture movies.
Girls of War opens with SoCal Val moving/dancing sexily for the camera, showing off her awesome body while holding various guns in her hands. This introductory “dance” sequence lasts for about a minute. This basically doesn’t do much for me. SoCal Val is gorgeous and has a beautiful body, but to me this scene has the feel of a late-night cable movie, or one of those Action Girls videos where beautiful, gun-toting bimbos dance around looking sexy but nothing actually happens. It doesn’t add anything to the story (is the heroine dancing around for fun when she should be working on her dangerous top-secret mission?), and it takes up a full minute of screen time that could be used more wisely to set up the story or establish the characters.
In the next scene, SoCal Val chooses her guns from an arsenal of weapons. This scene basically consists of SoCal Val looking at a guns on a table for a minute and a half while epic background music plays. Nothing else happens. This is just kind of boring. So far, including the opening logos and animation, we’re almost four minutes into the video, and nothing has happened. Episode 1 (out of 3) is not looking too good.
The next scene begins, and we’re presumably into the action, with a well-armed heroine sneaking around the outside of what appears to be the bad guys’ evil warehouse. (Why do they always operate out of evil warehouses?). The music here is fairly zany, considering that action consists only of SoCal Val walking around slowly.
SoCal Val continues walking for about two full minutes. She’s supposed to be on a dangerous mission infiltrating the bad guys’ base, but we haven’t seen anyone but the heroine for the movie’s seven-minute running time. Do bad guys even exist here? We’ll just assume there are a lot of evildoers inside the base, as SoCal Val continues walking around.
Finally, at almost seven minutes in, we see a thug standing guard in the base. Now it appears that something might happen, which comes as a relief at this point. SoCal Val sneaks up on him from behind and breaks his neck.
She then heads to a large room at the center of the warehouse, where she finds the secret plans, or the stolen data tapes, or the blueprints, or tonight’s winning lottery numbers, or whatever she’s looking for. All of that extensive walking has made our heroine hot, so she takes off her shirt, revealing a camouflage bra underneath. She places her guns on the table, and then a bunch of armed henchmen run into the room, setting up the film’s major action scene.
This action sequence reveals some of the major problems with Ring Divas’ heroine productions. The idea is good, three gun-toting thugs attack our heroine, who gets a chance to show us how strong she is, how she can easily defeat the bad guys at this early stage of the movie, and it sure beats watching the heroine walk around aimlessly. But there are problems here that make is less enjoyable than it could be.
In the Ring Divas films, there’s usually too much of an emphasis on style. We get “cool” music and stylized action scenes, but the music is overbearing, and the action is poorly edited. It’s very difficult to tell at any given time how a particular character moves from one location to another, where the characters are in relation to each other, and how exactly the action is unfolding. Instead, we get unnecessary slow motion shots of characters spinning around and unnecessary editing touches. Had this scene (and others) been filmed and edited in a basic, no-frills style, where we can easily tell what’s happening, I think it would have been more successful.
In any event, SoCal Val is easily captured by the villainess, once again played by Vanelle, who is really very good at playing this character. In the next scene, SoCal Val is tied to a chair with two thugs behind her. The villainess delivers a few slaps, pulls SoCal’s hair, caresses her body with a gun, and douses our heroine with a bucket of water. This is not a bad scene, but it wasn’t worth the previous ten minutes to get here. The scene ends, as does episode 1, and I have to conclude that this episode was something of a disappointment.
Episode 2 begins with a sweaty, exhausted SoCal Val tied up with her hands over her head as the evil villainess looks on. This is already so much better than episode 1. The villainess turns to her henchman torturer, and, unfortunately, it’s the same torturer from just about every other Ring Divas heroine destruction movie. The villainess exits (I guess she had some dry cleaning to pick up), and the henchmen starts out by punching the heroine in the stomach.
This is all good, and it’s pretty much what you expect from this type of movie. Unfortunately, several things are wrong right off the bat. First of all, SoCal Val looks and acts as if she’s about to start crying throughout the entire ordeal. The same heroine who earlier smiled at the opportunity to participate in a dangerous gun battle, the same heroine who keeps an arsenal of weapons on hand and volunteers to get involved in amazingly hazardous situations where there’s an extremely high probability of something bad happening, the same heroine who wears bullets on her belt, now starts weeping after a couple of slaps. We can practically hear her thinking, “Why me?!” Well, this was a pretty dangerous line of work you involved yourself in. I mean, you had to suspect at some point that this could happen.
Secondly, the torturer, as usual, thinks the movie is about him. He thinks he’s the star of this movie, and that we bought the movie to watch his performance. In fact, nobody bought the movie for that reason, and everything he does in terms of “performance” makes the movie worse. There shouldn’t be any perceptible performance or acting from this character. He could be played by literally any large male who can deliver punches. Instead, we’re forced to watch as he takes way too long to deliver each punch, as he laughs to himself the entire time, as he tries to act “deranged” when he should devoid of personality. To me, this is the biggest flaw in the Ring Divas movies.
In the Giga-Freeks and Zen Pictures heroine movies (Akiba Web and Akiba Heroine), the torturers are mindless thugs who carry out the orders of their superiors. The movie is not about them; it’s about the heroines. We typically don’t care what’s going through the minds of the henchmen. We do, on the other hand, care about what the main villains think. But since the villainess always leaves the room during the torture scenes in the Ring Divas films, we’re left with only this showboating torturer, who is way too much of a ham to be a henchman.
So with those two aspects of the movie in mind (SoCal Val’s whiny heroine and the scene-stealing torturer), the rest of the movie is basically a disappointment for me. We do get lots of belly punching, choking, scratching, beating with a stick, and the usual heroine abuse. And that’s all good. If you enjoy heroine movies, you’ll probably enjoy this one, at least on some level.
But this was a very early heroine destruction movie from Ring Divas, and so the producers had not yet perfected their methods. Subsequent heroine productions from the company did improve, and the recent Girls of War III with Destiny Dumon is actually pretty good (despite the same torturer). I would recommend this original Girls of War for those who are looking to complete their collection, for those who find SoCal Val irresistible, and for those who are curious to see a very early Ring Divas heroine film. If you don’t mind the overacting torturer or a heroine on the verge of tears, then you might really enjoy this. As for me, I give it a C+.