Rebecca (Amy Johnston) has had a chequered past she is now hoping to put behind her as she works for an animal rescue centre which looks after dogs. However, that past re-emerges one day when she is about to go home and a couple of intimidating men barge in and demand with increasing aggression to know if their lost pooch has been taken in there. It hasn't, but they will not be deterred - not until they turn violent and Rebecca is moved to use force to knock them both out with some high-kicking. This has been captured on a camera phone and goes viral online, which leads some old associates back to her door, demanding she return to her underground fighting ways...
It would seem the biggest stumbling block to enjoying Female Fight Club was its title, as there was some degree of grumbling from fans of David Fincher's Fight Club, that cult favourite alluded to in this effort's name. In truth, if it had been called Ladies Beat 'Em Up it might have gone down better, but the attempts at attention-grabbing by this low budget work were doomed to backfire. Better to concentrate on the physical talents of its star Amy Johnston, a stuntwoman by trade whose biggest claims to fame were standing in for Scarlett Johansson when she played Black Widow, and Margot Robbie when she played Harley Quinn, though she appeared to be in the shadow of those two stars.
Through no fault of her own, but the fact remained when they were essaying those roles, it was Johnston doing the tricky stuff like throwing kicks and punches and doing flips, so little wonder she was recruited to star in her own, considerably cheaper, vehicles. If she was not going to have the chance to display much in the way of thespian technique in a piece like this, then her growing number of fans would be able to appreciate it when her character started kicking ass, which she was very adept at (though fast-cutting tended to undercut her style, overall). Her Rebecca had a few opportunities to emote, but the way this played probably she had far too many chances at that.
This was thanks to the plot, which had it that Rebecca was extremely reluctant to return to her down and dirty roots when she could look after cute furry animals and plan to up sticks and move to an animal sanctuary in Africa (nowhere specific, just Africa in general) where she could continue her good works and save the creatures in the name of conservation. Her do-gooder credentials thus established, you would then expect her to be swiftly drawn back into the fighting game, but that was not the case as she was highly reticent about doing so, hired instead by a former associate to train some up-and-coming kickboxers (female). This meant the stuff you wanted to see, Johnston getting violent, was relegated to the final act and frankly it was too little too late, not to mention a baffling decision.
Most of this was taken up with Rebecca and her sister (Cortney Palm, who doesn't look related to Johnston especially), who was still fighting, getting to know the other fighters the actual villain (Rey Goyos) has under his command, while he tried to persuade our heroine to get back in the ring (or warehouse, or underground car park, or wherever). Even though he was a nasty piece of work, we were kind of on his side for one motive, as we wanted to see Rebecca in action as well, yet here we were watching the leading lady flex her acting muscles in scenes that spoke more to cliché than they did compiling a decent narrative. Dolph Lundgren was Rebecca's dad who is in prison, meaning he got about five seconds screen time with Johnston (more weird decisions), there was a little girl with diabetes to tug on the heartstrings, and a big baddie fighter as required, but it could have done with a lot less drama and a lot more women hitting people. Johnston had the moves, after all. Music by Mark Tschanz.
[Exploitation Films' DVD has a trailer as an extra. Pic and sound fair for DVD.]