'Extreme Chick Fights,' extreme tedium
Before I tell you that Extreme Chick Fights Volumes I and II is low-brow, degenerate, and a tedious waste of 160 minutes, allow me to clarify: I'm no prude.
I had third-row seats at a National Guard Armory to see Kryptomaniac emerge from a coffin and wrestle Billy Bart, and Lady Vendetta tangle with Ellie Mae. I've slummed it at Legend's, a Midwestern bar where Tough Man contestants fought in cages and patrons pounded one another in the parking lot. Why, I've even stung like a bee myself: As a 9-year-old I donned boxing gloves and went several rounds in the kitchen with my bigger, yet younger brother before our parents - the referees - called the fight. I won by decision.
Yet, civility eventually prevailed and now I can't stomach even sanctioned, professional boxing bouts, much less backyard brawls, one-act plays disguised as wrestling matches, or the latest innovation in violence, chick fights.
An academic could write a doctoral thesis on the psycho-socio-economic factors that compel semi-clad women to beat each other's ass while men eagerly chant "titty out, titty out," but that would be overthinking the issue. You don't have to be a feminist scholar to see that Extreme Chick Fights, recently released on DVD by Demolition Pictures, has nothing to do with sparring and everything to do with fulfilling some men's puerile pugilistic fantasies of watching sweaty, grunting women wallow on the floor.
(However, if your taste runs toward prissier contests, you're out of luck: Referees remind the thugettes that there is "no biting, no scratching, no hair-pulling.")
In addition to "regular" fights, the DVDs feature bareknuckle brawls, in which the fighters use no protective head gear and their hands are taped, but not gloved. For more immediate gratification, you can watch the first-round knockdowns, in which the fight is so one-sided that it's over before you can say cauliflower ear.
The bouts are held behind someone's house or in makeshift rings in what appear to be warehouses. The predominantly male audience gathers around and grunts. A few women play the part of bad-ass cornermen while a heavy-metal band or rap DJ blares music to keep the primal juices flowing. The women's boxing names are intimdating or titillating: Amazon vs. Juicy, the Pit vs. the Czech, Jackal vs. Freddie the Heat.
Alas, one thing is missing: fighting. Legitimate boxers are pinnacles of physical fitness, but these women are winded after 30 seconds, arms flailing like windmill blades, hair stuck to their face, with more than one sparrer running to the corner for cover. They land a few good punches (I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end), but mostly they pin each other down to catch their breath. (Jackal, a blonde, 110-pound dynamo, really had a breathing problem: Between rounds she slouched in her corner and sucked on an asthma inhaler.)
"The strength of her punches surprised me," commented Ms. Lightning, a former Las Vegas showgirl who dressed like one for her fight. "I didn't expect it to be that harsh so I decided to fall down."
Lest you think punch-drunk chicks are the only exploitees, the supporting cast is no farther up the social ladder. Would you trust an EMT who tells the camera, "She got beat like a tied-up goat"?
By the end, I didn't care whose ass was kicked, whose teeth were on the floor, or who was going to fuck up whom. I just wanted it to be over. •
By Lisa Sorg