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August 24, 2013

Movie Review: Combat Girls (aka Kriegerin, 2013)

There is no better quality for a movie to have, in my opinion, than the ability to drag you in by the emotional short hairs and hold you there for the duration. During the first few minutes of Combat Girls, a group of modern day Nazi kids living in Germany terrorize every passenger on a city bus in a way that made me absolutely loathe every one of them. I watched as they shoved one kid and called him a faggot. I sat with my heart racing as a young Asian guy was pummeled in front of his girlfriend. I wished I was on that bus. I wanted to be in a seat at the back of the bus with a bat or a pipe so that I could stand up and mash the unholy shit out of each of their skulls until they turned into pudding. I hated these people. HATED them. I've seen these assholes in the real world, and I've been the guy to step in on more than one occasion, not out of heroics, but out of anger and necessity. I can't stand aggressive bullies. It was like everyone involved with Combat Girls knew exactly where my buttons were, and they mashed all of them down as hard as they could with an open palm. For the rest of this movie, I was in, and there was no way for me to turn away. I needed justice in some manner or another.

The story follows two girls in their journeys with the group. Marisa is twenty. She and her boyfriend are part of the previously mentioned Nazi group. They hate everyone you'd expect them to hate. To them, Naziism is a political stance. Marisa takes it far enough to not serve two Afghani brothers while working her cashier job at her mother's grocery store. She is dedicated to the message handed down by her ailing grandfather.

Svenja is fifteen. She has an ongoing relationship with a drug dealer who has a connection to the Nazi group. To rebel against her mother and stepfather, she joins the group. In spite of her stepfather's efforts, she seems to have completely lost her way. Svenja is not immediately accepted by Marisa, but after they duke it out, they become fairly close.

The group has a run-in with the Afghan boys at the beach. The younger brother, Rasul, kicks the side mirror off of Marisa's car on the way out. Upon discovering this, Marisa chases them down and runs them over. She has some feelings in that moment, but regret does not seem to be one of them. The next day, Rasul comes into the grocery store alone. When Marisa tries to refuse service to him, he becomes determined, and he stands his ground. This moment kicks off an odd relationship between the two.

Combat Girls is a perfect movie. I couldn't turn away. Watching the destructive and self-destructive gang tear themselves and each other apart was often brutal. The relationship between Rasul and Marisa is fascinating. They can only really communicate through broken English, and they build an interesting bond. Svenja's quick allegiance to chaos is a common tale of a lost teen, and it hints to Marisa's beginnings with the group. The story is very realistic, and often sad. The direction and look of the film are beautiful. This is a movie you think about for weeks after you watch it. I think Artsploitation Films has an absolute winner here. Go see it now.

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