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  Ring Girls Chicks With Kicks
Year: 2006
Director: Jennifer Ferrara, Thomas Weber
Stars: Gina Carano, Master Toddy, Various
Genre: Drama, Action, DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Gina is our guide into the world of women's kickboxing, and she tells us of how she and her four friends, all fellow fighters, travelled to Thailand to compete in a championship. Nobody in Thailand expected them to do well as foreigners, but their sheer determination would work in their favour with the help of their trainer and mentor, Master Toddy. He had been taught the techniques of kickboxing from a very young age by his mentor, and now he hoped to pass on his expertise to the women in his charge. They had done well in American matches, but how would they fare tackling the experts on their home turf?

There's so much of Ring Girls that is obviously staged that you begin to wonder how much of it is true - not the fights, where the women kick and punch each other with abandon, they look authentic enough and the participants seem genuinely skilled. Not that, but the stuff in between, which resembles a motivational video to build up self esteem and female empowerment. Which is fine as far as it goes, however a film that depicted the behind the scenes of the sport as it really was might have been a more satisfying prospect.

Surely it can't all be glamorous? The matches certainly don't seem that way, and although the ones in Las Vegas, where the women hail from, seem well attended the ones in Thailand are visibly less popular, unless presumably you're a gambler. The way they are built up in Gina's cloying narration you'd expect a huge stadium heaving with a roaring crowd, but what you get are a bunch of slightly bored looking punters - mostly men, too, in contrast to the more mixed audience in America.

Master Toddy comes across as his own Charlie with his group of Charlie's Angels hanging on his every word; they each receive a pep talk, stuff about punching leaves and the like, and he instructs them to sleep in the ring itself for preparation. Just to prove they're not sweaty bruisers, the ladies are seen relaxing, as when they visit a karaoke bar with nobody in it but them where they sing but are not heard, the rights to those songs presumably not secured by the producers. And in Thailand, they meet a cheeky monkey. It's not that kind of trivia you'll be wanting to see if you're a keen follower of the sport, but at least the competitors get to be stars of their own movie, and the action is satisfying enough for aficionados.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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