The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
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DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT: ANDY SIDARIS

Andy Sidaris for those of you who don’t know (and shame on you if you don’t) is the Skinamax Alfred Hitchcock. This is the man whose contribution to late night cinema is as valuable as Hitchcock’s work was to the mainstream. Sidaris was the auteur (and as much as I hate to use that term, it certainly applies to Andy) who invented what I like to call the T.A.G. movie. T.A.G. of course stands for Tits and Guns. Although he made two films prior to the Skinamax boom, Sidaris is best known for the twelve T.A.G. extravaganzas he made from 1985 to 1998.

We all have a favorite Andy Sidaris moment. Mine is when Julie Strain was having sex on a boat and said, “Anchors aweigh!” right at the moment of climax in Fit to Kill. Then again, you never forget your first Sidaris movie. Mine was Hard Ticket to Hawaii, which to this day remains my favorite. Of his twelve films, there are only four other movies I haven’t reviewed yet. And if you can’t already tell from my other Sidaris reviews, all of his films get Three Stars from me. Some may be better than others, but they each exude a certain Andy-ness that makes even the lightweight chapters of the saga lovable.

Andy passed away a couple of years ago, and it makes me sad that the world will never get another Andy Sidaris movie. But you know what? I like to think Andy is in Heaven right now where he belongs. And I hope that for him, every cloud is a breast and every ray of sunshine comes from an exploding remote controlled toy car. Rest in Peace Andy. We’ll miss you.

MALIBU EXPRESS (1985) ***

Malibu Express is the movie that started it all. Although Andy Sidaris had made some films prior to this, Malibu Express was the one that really got the ball rolling for him. This is the one that made him world renowned as the premier T & A action guru of late night Skinamax.

Darby Hinton stars as Cody Abilene, a Delorian driving private dick. A sexy countess (the one and only Sybil Danning) hires him to solve the murder of an old rich dude. While on the case, Cody uncovers a blackmail plot involving the chauffeur who of course, also winds up dead.

It’s fun watching Malibu Express and seeing how Sidaris was planting the seeds and establishing the formula of what was to come. The guys can’t shoot straight and the women are not only sexy, but strong as well. And of course, everything ends with a plot wrap-up where everyone sits around sipping champagne. Sure, everything is probably a little too OVER explained in the end and the movie runs on way too long (no Skinamax movie should ever run 100 minutes), but since Andy was still trying to perfect the formula, it’s easy to overlook.

The gals are hot too, which helps immensely. Danning in particular is looking as sexy as ever and gets to wear some extremely skimpy outfits. And who could forget Lynda Wiesmeier as Ms. Khnockers (the “h” is silent), who whips out her namesakes at the drop of a hat?

There’s a veritable bounty of sex scenes in this movie. Some of them are way too short, but they show enough skin so that they still count; no matter how brief they are. We get one Two Girls in the Shower scene, four Guy on Girl scenes, one Two Girls on One Guy scene, one Writhing on the Floor Topless for No Good Reason Whatsoever scene, one Topless Massage scene, one Topless Dance party scene, and three Phone Sex scenes. That means we get twelve sex scenes within a 101 minute timeframe. That works out to be a sex scene about every eight and a half minutes, and that’s actually one of Andy’s best ratios, believe it or not.

And Malibu Express is also a sterling example of Andy’s stellar screenwriting capabilities. Here’s a couple of my favorite dialogue exchanges:

Hot Chick: “What do you make for dinner?”

Cody: “Reservations!”

and

Cody: “My hands are lethal weapons!”

Hot Chick: “Just be careful when you play with yourself!”

PICASSO TRIGGER (1988) ***

Dona Spier and Hope Marie Carlton return in this immediate sequel to Hard Ticket to Hawaii. It doesn’t have any cancer snakes in it, but it’s still a good time. This time our lovely lethal ladies are after the titular bad guy who dabbles in everything from white slavery to snuff films. He seemingly meets an untimely end, but then the girls do some digging and find out he faked his death in order to eliminate his competition.

Picasso Trigger isn’t as outrageous as the usual Sidaris fare, but Andy on his off day is better than most directors at their best. Even though the flick is a little light in the skin department, it still delivers on the action goods as lots of shit blows up. There are exploding RC cars, exploding boats, exploding hovercrafts, and even exploding people. We also get speedboat chases, some decent Kung Fu, eye gouging, and a spear gun through the chest too. And wait until you get a load of the James Bond-ish crutch that doubles as a gun.

Overall we get seven sex scenes. There are two Shower scenes, one Bubble Bath scene, three Guy on Girl scenes, and one Gratuitous Undressing scene. Since the flick runs 98 minutes, that means we get a sex scene every 14 minutes. Again, that’s not the best total, but Andy keeps you watching with some hilarious action hijinks.

Spier and Carlton are hot as always, although they don’t get as much screen time as you’d expect. Luckily, Roberta Vasquez is also in the mix playing a sexy double agent named Pantera. She’d later go on to star alongside Dona (as a good girl) in Guns.

So yeah, the sex scenes leave something to be desired, but stuff blows up real good, so it’s hard to complain. There’s also a hilarious Ninja attack to which Dona quips, “Hi-ya my ass!” And I also have a soft spot in my heart for any movie that has an end credits sequence that was typed on construction paper.

SAVAGE BEACH (1989) ***

Dona Spier and Hope Marie Carlton (in her last Andy Sidaris movie) have to fly medical supplies to Hawaii. They wind up getting lost in a storm and have to make an emergency landing on a desert island. While waiting for a rescue team to find them, some nasty villains come to the island looking for lost WWII gold. Before long, Dona and Hope are doing battle with them. Thankfully, they also get a little help from a ghostly Japanese Ninja that has inhabited the island ever since the end of the war.

Savage Beach is a really good entry in the Andy Sidaris Tits n’ Guns saga; even though a lot of the movie nothing more than Dona and Hope playing peek-a-boo with the bad guys on the island while a half-century old Ninja stalks the premises. There are also may be too many WWII flashbacks as well. And if I’m to be perfectly honest, there is a lot more action than uh... you know ACTION-ACTION.

In a 94 minute span we only get seven sex scenes. That’s only a sex scene every 13 minutes or so, but they are some quality scenes. We get three Guy on Girl scenes, two Undressing scenes, one Skinnydipping scene, and one Topless Babes Chilling Out in a Hot Tub scene. And believe me, it’s one of the finest Topless Babes Chilling Out in a Hot Tub scene ever filmed.

The scenes of stuff blowing up are pretty great too. Vans explode in this movie, briefcases explode in this movie, and rafts explode. It’s not quite up to the genius of the gun-crutch in Picasso Trigger, but it’s still pretty good.

Probably the reason I like this movie so much is because Playboy centerfold-turned-actress-turned-porn-star Teri Weigel is in it. Remember her? She’s apparently still doing the porn thing after all these years, although I haven’t seen her in anything in quite some time. She gets two scenes in this one and they’re definitely the best ones.

Flaws aside, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: God bless Andy Sidaris.

GUNS (1990) ***

Andy Sidaris swapped out Hope Marie Carlton for Roberta Vasquez for his fifth Tits n’ Guns flick. Erik Estrada (!!!) stars as a gun smuggler and all around bad guy who wants to kill special agents Vasquez and Dona Spier. Naturally, Estrada’s transvestite hitmen fuck things up and Roberta and Dona go out to bring Estrada down.

You know, out of the twelve Andy Sidaris Skinamax classics, this is probably my least favorite. Like Picasso Trigger, Guns makes the mistake of placing the emphasis on action instead of T & A. Having said that, it’s still totally worthwhile. That’s mostly because Sidaris was somehow able to get Erik Estrada to play the villain in this one. He’s pretty good too and he gets all the best lines like, “Use the cerebral approach… Shoot her in the head!” We also get a young(er) Danny Trejo as one of Estrada’s henchman too, which is a nice bonus.

Roberta Vasquez and Dona Spier were looking pretty hot in this. As good as they look though; I have to say that Cynthia Brimhall has never looked better than she did here. Although the Skinamax Stats are pretty low, we should still take a look at them anyway. We get: two Guy on Girl scenes, one Dressing scene, one Undressing scene, one Baby Oil Wrestling Match, and one Two Chicks in a Shower scene. That means in 95 minutes, we get a sex scene every 16 minutes. Again, not a good ratio, but since this movie features an exploding Erik Estrada, I can’t get too mad at it.

Tags: .director spotlight, action, andy sidaris, g, kung fu, m, p, s, sequel, skinamax
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