After a particularly rough last movie, “Do Or Die”, we’re back with another directorial effort from the late, “great”, Andy Sidaris, the man who pioneered getting the camera to look at attractive women in the audience at sporting events before moving on to showing acres of their flesh in movies.
Our MacGuffin today is a jade Buddha, perhaps top-ten all time in terms of cheesy tourist tat, but this one apparently contains a trigger for a nuclear device. I remember the good old days when nuclear triggers were very valuable things in the eyes of international criminal masterminds, nowadays of course they just pay to get evil people elected and make sure they enact laws that allow them to carry on making billions of dollars. Kane, the villain from the last few movies, has the device, which will bring him “power and money beyond even my wildest dreams”, which is evidently so powerful it made him change genetics, from Pat Morita to RJ “son of Roger” Moore (Moore’s entire adult acting career is this, another Sidaris movie and a small part in one of his Dad’s efforts).
Anyway, one of the L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies (although the agency still isn’t referred to as that, or anything) steals it and we’re on for fun, as they try and keep it, Kane tries to take it back, and so on.
Like a long-running TV series, you know who you’re going to see, so the interest then becomes what variations on the introductions are we going to get. We’re all fans of Edy (Cynthia Brimhall), the buxom C&W singer, but she’s gone from “country” to “island” this time, entertaining the people at a hotel with her tropical beats and song about waking up “first thing in the afternoon” and then just getting drunk and partying all day, a song which is so wonderful we hear it in its entirety three times.
Also returning is Ava (Ava Cadell, not quite a good enough actor to play someone with a different name to her own) who’s front is as a DJ for KSXY, the station where all the staff dress in bikinis (or speedos, if they’re Shane Abilene, who also works there). Her assistant gets her coffee while wearing nothing on her top half at all! She has the job of giving out the least subtle on-air code of all time, which would sound insane to anyone who was just listening to the show, and is a really stupid idea anyway – for instance, when one agent is on the run and phones Ava for advice on where to go, they broadcast the conversation on the air even though it’d make tons more sense for them to just have a phone call together. Her performance will not make you forget the DJ from “The Warriors”, it’s safe to say.
Our two heroines, Donna (Dona Speir) and Nicole (Roberta Vasquez) are in Arizona, relaxing and working on their tans – you know, because Hawaii is notorious for people not being able to do either of those things. I sort of like them both, and Edy, which indicates my standards are dropping or they all decided to take acting lessons in between Sidaris movie gigs. Don’t worry, by any reasonable movie-fan’s standards, they’re still terrible.
Sidaris still loves his “Dukes of Hazzard” style redneck humour, and it’s once again supplied by a couple of wacky assassins, who are by a distance the least successful of all the wacky assassin teams he’s featured so far – there’s also a comedy sheriff, another classic stereotype, but he gets blown up fairly quickly. And there’s a couple of high-quality “That Guy” actors who clearly fancied a few days work in Hawaii – Al Leong, aka “that Asian villain from pretty much every 80s and 90s movie”, whose main character trait is “has a really ugly helicopter that Andy Sidaris thought was cool”. Also popping up as “boat captain” is Brett Baxter Clark, who we met in the amazing “Alien Warrior”.
So yes, it’s back-and-forth action, with much less of the appalling “stay here like a good girl while I do all the work” sexism of the previous movie. Donna and Nicole get the jade buddha, and take it back to Hawaii, then Donna gets kidnapped, then the double agent reveals himself and all hell breaks loose. There’s even a decent stunt sequence, where Donna escapes from a plane in a pretty clever manner with fighting and all that. There’s another fight later on which my notes describe as “ridiculous, but sort of brilliant”, which could double as a description of the movie as a whole. I also admire how they’re unafraid to straight-up murder their enemies, too, rather than making too much of an effort to arrest them.
While it’s still full of nude ladies who are prepared to have sex with their men at the drop of a hat, even when they really ought to be concentrating on their mission, and just general female nudity, it’s less offensive than “Do Or Die” and even if you’re a staunch feminist, as I am, you can enjoy this, laughing with it almost as much as you’re laughing at it.
Rating: thumbs up
PS – next up is a movie not directed by Andy Sidaris but his son (brother? I have no idea) Christian Drew Sidaris, “Enemy Gold”, which is very vaguely part of the Sidaris-verse, and brings in Julie Strain to the family.