February 26th, 2009

MARAUDERS (1986) **

Two delinquent youths (Zero Montana and Colin Savage) tear through an Australian town stealing, terrorizing, killing, and raping people.  When a macho asshole (Paul Harrington) accidentally hits one of them with his car, they set out to get some payback.  Little do they know that the angry townsfolk that they’ve brutalize are amassing a lynch mob to get some revenge of their own.


Directed on a zero budget with borrowed equipment, Marauders is amateurish at best and tedious at worst.  It’s a shame too because the first twenty minutes or so shows a lot of promise.  There’s a great scene early on in the film where Savage goes nuts, beats up his old lady, and then blows out her brains when she won’t give him the keys to the car.  As it turns out, the keys were in his pocket all along!  If director Mark (Sensitive New Age Killers) Savage (Colin’s brother) had peppered in more of this kind of black humor throughout the film, I think it might have been a classic. 


After the first act however things start to peter out and the tension becomes palpable.  The snotty performances don’t help either and the only remotely likable person in the cast is an out and out bitch, which doesn’t do the flick any favors.  There is one great line of dialogue though:  “If you don’t drop your panties right here and now, I’m afraid I’ll have to mess up your face!”

POLICEWOMEN (1974) ** ½

Sondra (The Concrete Jungle) Currie stars as Lacy Bond; a ball-breaking, red-headed, firecracker of a policewoman who gets promoted to detective after Kung Fuing a bunch of escaped female convicts.  Her first assignment is to infiltrate an all-girl gang of gold smugglers led by a septuagenarian hag and bring them to justice.


On the surface, Policewomen is my kind of movie.  It’s got hot babes in bikinis karate chopping each other, shower scenes, and a cool cast.  In addition to Currie’s fine performance, we also get to see William (Conan the Barbarian) Smith as a chauvinistic karate instructor and TNT Jackson herself, Jeannie Bell as a fellow undercover agent.


Policewomen (which shouldn’t be confused with the Angie Dickinson/Earl Holliman TV show, Police Woman) has its share of problems though.  At 100 minutes, it’s a heck of a lot longer than it should’ve been and the flick coulda used some more T & A.  (Currie has only one nude scene and Bell has two brief topless scenes.)  Since director Lee Frost got his start making nudie flicks like House on Bare Mountain and The Defilers, you’d think he’d be all about the titties.  I guess that’s what happens when you go “legit”. 


Still, Policewomen has enough fun stuff in it for me to give it a half-hearted recommendation.  It’s certainly above average as most of these Crown International Pictures go.  If you’re a fan of either Currie or Bell, you’ll definitely want to give it a look-see.


Smith and Frost also worked together on the immortal The Thing with Two Heads.


AKA:  The Insiders.


Two young girls dressed up like clowns get involved in a shootout and hightail it to the country.  After wiping off their make-up they boost a motorcycle and steal some food off a lunch wagon before hiding out in a decrepit castle.  Turns out the castle is crawling with vampires who love chaining up young girls in their dungeon and fucking them.  The old vampire dude has plans for our heroines though and wants to turn them into vampires because they are virgins.  One gal doesn’t want no part of that so while the Count is sleeping, she runs out and balls the first guy she can pick up.  This causes her some grief with the Count because we all know, “You cannot be both virgin AND vampire!”


Requiem for a Vampire takes it’s time to get moving but once it does brother, it’s pretty sweet.  Director Jean Rollin’s stock-in-trade surrealistic imagery is fully on display (i.e. girls in clown make-up) and his perverse imagination is in overdrive.  I particularly liked the one section of the movie that was completely devoted to chained girls getting their brains fucked out by hairy guys in capes.  But the best part of the flick had to be the scene when one vampire dude changed into a bat while he was going down on a girl.


That’s right folks; we’re talking about Bat-A-Lingus here.


Sure, the ending is kinda lame and the fangs on the vampires are way too long and look downright silly.  I’m willing to forgive Rollin for his trespasses because the man simply knows how to film naked women being shackled to the wall while vampires rape the shit out of them and bite their titties.  I don’t know if I’d go so far to say that Requiem for a Vampire is my favorite Rollin flick (I have a soft spot in my heart for Schoolgirl Hitchhikers), but it comes awfully close.


AKA:  Caged Vampires.  AKA:  Caged Virgins.  AKA:  Crazed Virgins.  AKA:  Dungeon of Terror.  AKA:  Sex Vampires.  AKA:  The Crazed Vampire.  AKA:  Virgins and Vampires.


So I’ve been currently trying to wade my way through Dolph Lundgren’s Direct-to-DVD era action movies (thanks to the recommendation of my pal Ryan Kenner) and although some of them haven’t been too bad (like Bridge of Dragons), I have to admit that not many of them have been all that good either.  Now here comes The Russian Specialist and it’s a fine example of what a Swedish actor/writer/director/Kung Fu expert can do with a small budget while working on location in Bulgaria.


Dolph plays this Russian mechanic who used to be an asskicker in Afghanistan.  When a greasy mobster kills his wife and kid in broad daylight, Dolph gets extremely P.O.’ed and blows away about seven guys before shooting the Boris Badenov style villain in the face.  Dolph then moves to the USA so he can work on cars and forget his past.  Soon enough though, a hoity-toity rich woman wants Dolph to sneak back over to Russia and rescue her daughter who’s about to be sold into white slavery.  Dolph’s got a good thing going at Pep Boys so he says no dice.  Then the old bag reveals to him that the guy who’s got her daughter is the same scumbag who killed Dolph’s family.  (He survived that whole Getting-Shot-In-The-Face thing.) 


You know what that means.  Dolph’s got to grab a shotgun, head to Russia and give a whole new meaning to the term:  RED Square.


The Russian Specialist is a lot of fun, and the main reason is because of Dolph himself.  Here he plays an amalgam of two of his best characters, Ivan Drago and The Punisher and the results are pretty badass.  Just like Drago, he’s an unstoppable Russian juggernaut that was trained by his government to kick some butt.  He’s also a lot like The Punisher because he had a wife and kid who got killed by a greasy mobster and now he goes out for justice.  (They even give him a drunken comic relief sidekick too.)


The fact that Dolph is taking the mission solely out of revenge bumps this up a notch above his usual DTD stuff as most of his newer flicks just have him playing a Man-On-A-Mission type guy.  Dolph also made the fight scenes a lot more brutal than usual with knives getting shoved into people’s hands, butts, and groins.  And of course it’s important to the plot that his character be a mechanic because his damn getaway car breaks down every five minutes or so.


The Russian Specialist isn’t all sunshine and roses however.  Dolph usually does an adequate job behind the camera but he kinda mucked things up on this flick by heavily relying on unnecessary fadeouts.  I swear they happen in between every scene, and sometimes they even occur within the same scene!  The flick also has trouble living up to it’s excellent first half hour as it slows down considerably once Dolph actually rescues the chick.  Fortunately things liven back up once Dolph starts playing Hide and Go Shotgun with the main baddy. 


Even with a few flaws, The Russian Specialist still comes highly recommended for those who enjoy Direct-to-DVD action flicks.  In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel to this sometime in the near future.  I mean the final shot has Dolph stomping along past the Kremlin, which certainly FEELS like a set-up for a sequel.  We can all hope, can’t we?


Dolph’s next appearance was in the Biblical flick, The Final Inquiry.


AKA:  The Mechanik.