SPOILER ALERT The late 60's and 70's produced many different themes in the exploitation genre, the black detective, the pimp, the biker, the redneck, the car chase, and, very briefly, the roller derby film.
The opening of the film is a roller derby just getting started. The crowd stands up to salute the national anthem, which is turned on a record player by a drunk janitor, and the record is severely warped. Nice opening, you know it has a sense of humor about itself. Plus, in the opening credits we see Martin Scorsese as Supervising Editor (same year as Boxcar Bertha, one year before Mean Streets). So, from the get go, it is an interesting b-movie ride.
Karen Walker is tired of her job at the cat food cannery, and shoves a can of cat food in her sleazeball managers face before she walks out. She goes home and informs her nymphomaniac, topless go-go dancer roommate, who is constantly bonking her boyfriend (kind of a low IQ Jean Paul Belamondo look alike), that she is going to roller derby tryouts. The glamorous roller derby guys consist of the drunk doctor, the promoters, and the detective from King of New York as the coach. As they watch the tryouts, they say things like, "Put the fag on the Demons team. the crowd will hate him." and "That girls (Karen, of course) got showmanship." There are only two teams, the Avengers and the Demons, and Karen makes it on the Avengers. She goes home and poses in her uniform, and it is oddly almost like the Taxi Driver "You talkin' to me?" scene.
What is funny, is that the film breaks the fourth wall, in the training sequence, by showing that it is all fake. Rememeber, this was back in the day when professional wrestling was still thought of/pretended to be "real". They are instructed how to hit, take a fall, different ways to scream in pain, and where to stage a fight so the crowd can see clearly. Yet, throughout the rest of the movie, in any competition, it is treated seriously, for real, complete with locker room pep talks, ignoring the fact that previous scenes explain how it is fake.
Karen gets her physical in her underwear and go-go boots. Karen begins to upstage Mickey, the Avengers #1 player. Karen gets humiliated, stripped to her panties, by the other players after the first big game. She tears off with one of the guys (old, Latino, but wearing a USA flag, puffy pirate shirt) and shows her craziness by randomly shooting a pistol off the back of his chopper as they cruise down the street. She gets more popular and looney. Gets the Avengers logo tatooed on her arm. The team gets more jealous of her. Her go-go dancing friend leaves her. Her own team beats, stomps, and whips her with a car antenna one night. She gets crazier and is set up to be replaced. Then we get a finale in witch Karen goes off the deep end, a huge fight ensues, and she skates off into traffic. All in exploitation fun. THE END.
-"Honey, I got balls. I got yours."
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