Life is good for our Helman: the steady flow of captured women ensures continuous fodder for barbarous pursuits in his makeshift Parthenon and his girlfriend, who seems to be some kind of dominatrix Nazi, never fails to be by his side. But headaches are afoot when his most prolific combatant escapes. This rebel takes her hardened sensibility out to the dilapidated remains of the urban jungle, wherein she teams up with another renegade female – who may or may not be the cop from the first Silent Hill game – and together they evade the clutches of the fiery men folk, kicking whatever ass comes their way.
Their veritable Sex and the City lifestyle (what a glorious apartment they keep) is disrupted when Helman’s leather-clad missus stumbles upon a formula that will transmogrify the dead into a rampaging legion of unstoppable, flesh-hungry maniacs. Our heroine and her buddy become the target of these gurning soldiers of the dead (lest we forget) and are forced into long, drawn-out sessions of cross-country running as one eponymous coterie goes up against another.
Ignoring the specific filmic precursors for a second, one almighty coalescence offers itself for dissection with Actiongirls: Soldiers of the Dead – Part 1. Unlike such piffle as Girls Gone Wild, Actiongirls is not simply a smorgasbord of vulgar objectification and misogynistic perversion, for it attempts a twofold process of dialectical thinking and paying tribute to vast swaths of cinematic wonder. By the amalgamation of mindless action with the verdant serums and aggressive groans associated with the undead, Actiongirls: Soldiers of the Dead – Part 1 is a pristine homage to both the most startling brilliance observed in US action cinema (cf. the filmography of Jean Claude Van Damme) and the fabulous wealth of underrated gems found in the region of the zombie film. Just imagine if Steven Seagal had to battle congregations of scabrous zombies, then imagine he were a buxom babe with a wardrobe restricted exclusively to scant bikinis and you have an picture of how Actiongirls: Soldiers of the Dead – Part 1 plays out.
Scotty JX, the director, keeps his cinematic ancestors close to his heart. The milieu harkens back to the Mad Max trilogy, while Helman’s malicious bondage ladyfriend brings to mind the many adventures of Ilsa. The mortality-shattering fluid, a fluorescent green in colour, would put a smile on the stoic countenance of Herbert West, while the bronzed figure of the heroine would make Lara Croft jealous. And, of course, there’s a long lineage that features the likes of Romero, Hooper, H.G. Lewis, Zombie, etc. Less illustrious comparisons abound concerning the WWE’s pantomimes (alongside their recent cinematic offshoots) and a host of pseudo-pornographic nonsense that can’t be given away at the best of times.