Andy Sidaris season! Day Of The Warrior (1996)

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We’re now in the home stretch of our reviews of the movies of Andy Sidaris (along with a few from his son), and we hope you’ve already invested in the “Girls, Guns and G-Strings” DVD set – in terms of fun per $, you’re not going to get a better bargain. This is the penultimate instalment, chronologically speaking, and after that, as a little lap of honour, we’ll be covering his first two movies, 1973’s “Stacey” and 1979’s “Seven” (and maybe, if I can find it, his 1969 documentary about James Garner’s attempt to form a motor-racing team).

But today’s movie is 1996’s “Day Of The Warrior”, with one of my favourite pieces of stunt casting, as much as you can call a movie packed full of Playboy playmates normally cast. The Warrior the title refers to is played by none other than Buff Bagwell, pro wrestling legend and one-time gigolo. He might be a really nice guy, no idea, but he was a rubbish wrestler so it’s been loads of fun mocking him for the last twenty years. The really weird thing is…he’s sort of alright in this. If he’d had an agent and not been under some wrestling contract, he could very easily have had a decent career (better than “failed pro wrestler” anyway).

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But before we meet Buff “The Stuff” Bagwell, we’re treated to the most Sidaris-est intro of all time, a slow-motion bit of boob-jiggling which manages to look completely un-erotic. This re-introduces Cobra (Julie K Smith) and establishes a link between the movies of Dad and Son, should you be one of the zero people who spent any mental energy on imagining if they were part of the same cinematic universe or not. She’s deep undercover as a stripper, because of course.

It’s also a welcome return for Julie Strain, who’s done with playing villains and is now head of L.E.T.H.A.L. By the way, this is the first movie where they’re identified by that name, and we also get a super-unhelpful acronym, which made me laugh and which I will no reproduce for you:

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So yes, Strain is the very boringly-for-her named “Willow Black”, but mercifully her outfit for being in charge of a huge spy network is a tiny leopard-print bikini, and we first see her while she’s working out, also jiggling (although not in slow motion). She’s learned to act a little in the intervening two years, though, so that’s nice. Let me see if I can remember the paper-thin plot to relate to you…

…It’s a collection of scenes you’ll remember from other Sidaris movies, re-ordered as if he never expected anyone to see the earlier ones, as if he was unaware of the existence of VHS tapes and TV and people’s ability to see his old movies too. There’s the comedy assassins, who get blown up but never die; the cane that doubles as a rifle; and the blowing up of a shack with “Fuel Dump” crudely written on one side. It’s more like a drink with an old friend, where they tell the same stories but you don’t mind because they’re still funny.

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Buff is “The Supreme Warrior”, a former agent of L.E.T.H.A.L who then became a pro wrestler, and now is a booty-collecting super-villain. You know, that old career procession! Fighting him are our ladies with a succession of shockingly bland leading men, including Major Ward, played by a fellow called Cristian Letelier who’s down there with the worst actors we’ve seen in a Sidaris movie, and you know how much competition there is for that award. Gerald Okamura, the villain in dozens of 80s and 90s b-movies, here plays a good guy, who’s Willow Black’s sidekick, loves her unrequitedly and is also undercover as a Chinese Elvis impersonator. Yes, that’s right, and he does it with such relish that you can’t even be annoyed by it.

You’ve got a super-obvious double agent, two different people getting knocked out by Julie Strain’s boobs, and a final confrontation of a two-on-one wrestling match which is hilarious. Oh, and the villains are genuinely running a video piracy ring! I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen that used as a plot point, and it’s great.

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We’ve sat through the good and the bad, but I think this could be the best of all the Sidaris movies. He’s just having fun here, with a central pair of actors who understand how ridiculous it all is and have fun with it – and it needs stating, but Strain and Smith are vastly superior actors to Speir and Vasquez. It rips along, everyone’s having fun, and while the nudity is both far too prevalent and not remotely erotic, I reckon you’ll have a really good time with this one.

Rating: thumbs up

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