Andy Sidaris: A man, a plan, a genre

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My wife Arlene uses all of these fancy words like “motivation” and “story”. Where the fuck did you learn those words? I couldn’t spell “story” if you spotted me the “s” and the “t”, for chrissakes.Andy Sidaris

You have to give Andy Sidaris a lot of respect. For twenty years or so, he has been living outside the Hollywood studio system, happily putting out his own style of movies. You don’t do that without tapping into something popular, and Sidaris’ formula is simple: Bullets, Bombs and Babes. The DVDs even have symbols by the chapter stops to indicate content in these three areas.

The product that results usually involves a number of Playboy playmates in a variety of exotic (yet not too expensive) locations e.g. Las Vegas, chasing the bad guys with a selection of weaponry and gadgets. Throw in some gratuitous but inoffensive nudity, a little action (not overly bloody!) and a curious, almost total, lack of profanity. Wrap in a suitably enticing sleeve, release to video, and wait for the profits to arrive. So obvious, you wonder why no-one else thought of it first.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Sidaris gravitated towards the action genre, having for many years been a TV sports producer, winning seven Emmys in the process. He also was responsible for the football scenes in M.A.S.H., though director Robertn Altman stiffed him out of credit for that, to Sidaris’s lasting disdain; more than 30 years later, he said of Altman, “If you call up central casting and say “send me a prick over,” he shows up.”

Yet his career got off to a slow start, more than a decade passing between his directorial debut and his third feature, Malibu Express, which is probably the first “true” Sidaris movie in terms of style and content. This was a happy time for the low-budget film-maker, as the growth of video meant an enormous demand for product. And Andy, along with his wife Arlene, and occasionally son Christian too, was in a great position to supply that need. Their small but well-crafted action adventure pics might not out-rent the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but they’d likely outlast it on the shelves.

In the third millennium, financing new movies has become a little harder, but the Sidaris catalog has found a new lease of life on DVD. They put a lot of major studios to shame in terms of extras, especially given the low retail price – commentaries (albeit with Sidaris occasionally drooling over his actresses a bit too much), featurettes, trailers and the “Andy Sidaris Film School” where you learn how to stage car-chases, etc. How he gets all those Playmates to star in his movies remains a trade secret. :-)

Since I started writing this, Andy Sidaris passed away from throat cancer in March 2007, without getting to make Battlezone Hawaii – the script was written, centred on the theft of a Faberge egg, but it never went into production. Having now seen all his “bullets, bombs and babes” flicks, there are none which merit a seal of approval. A few are good; others are actually pretty bad. But they have a consistency of tone and content which is somehow re-assuring. You know, more or less, exactly what you’re going to get, and they always deliver.

To quote Arlene, “The Sidaris dynasty is built on the theory that every four years there’s a college freshman in a frat house on a Friday night who wants to see a Sidaris movie.” And with their rolling, but always photogenic, cast of dolls and hunks, not to mention plots that never tax the brain, Andy Sidaris makes near-perfect movies for that situation. Crack open the beer, order the pizza, switch off all conscious thought and be entertained..

I feel like when there’s nudity required, it’s there. Certainly some of it is gratuitous, I’m not going to lie to you, but hey, that’s what we’re here for. In the play ’42nd Street’, where he says “You go on that stage an unknown, you come off that stage a star,” I say “You step into that hot tub an unknown, you step out that hot tub a star.”Andy Sidaris

  • Stacey


    While this wasn’t Sidaris’s first feature – he’d done The Racing Scene, with James Garner in 1967 – this was likely the prototype of the BB&B (Blood, Bullets & Babes) flicks that would become his trademark. If all the elements do not quite mesh in the way they eventually would, they are all present, mostly in the shape of Anne Randall, a former Playboy playmate who plays private investigator Stacey, and looks a bit like Heather Graham.

    The story bears more than a slight resemblance to Malibu Express (below), except with the sexes swapped out. Here, the PI is a she, called in by a rich invalid to investigate the shenanigans surrounding her extended family, and soon discovers an employee is banging one relative and blackmailing her gay husband, among other unpleasantness. He soon turns up dead, and there’s no shortage of suspects. Stacey finds the camera set-up he used to get the blackmail material, and retrieves a couple of rolls of undeveloped film [Yeah…that pretty much dates the film, right there!]. However, when the bullets start to fly in her direction, she realizes that someone wants to prevent the prints from being seen, and is prepared to stop at nothing towards this end.

    Stacey is actually pretty cool: perhaps more so than some of Sidaris’s later heroines, the script makes it clear that she’s both smart abd capable of taking care of herself, with or without a gun. She also drives, very fast, something showcased in the final chase, pitting a race-car against a helicopter – it’s undoubtedly contrived, but the speeds on view are undeniably impressive. If they’d done a movie version of Honey West, this might have been kinda like it, though Stacey does take her top off with rather more frequency than Ann Francis would ever do.

    That’s perhaps the result of this being a co-production between Sidaris’s production company and Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, each putting up half of the $75,000 cost. The production values are good, and there’s some surprisingly enthusiastic blood-squibbing going on. If some elements appear to have strayed in from Agatha Christie, and the supporting cast are entirely forgettable, there should be enough going on to keep the viewer interested, and I’ve seen an awful lot worse come out of the 70’s drive-in market.

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Anne Randall, Alan Landers, James Westmoreland, Anitra Ford

  • Malibu Express

    Female action fans would be well advised to give this a wide berth. Actually, so should everyone else, unless they’re fans of crass sexism, extremely clunky exposition and hideous country & western. Cody Abilene (Hinton) is a PI hired by Countess Luciana (Danning) to look into the export of illegal computer technology to the Russians, centred on the home of Lady Lillian Chamberlain. Who is responsible? Oversexed chauffeur Shane? Daughters Lisa and Anita? Or the maid, Marion? [groan…]

    Luciana and police Detective Beverly MacFee (Sutton) are the prototypes for later Sidaris action heroines, but otherwise this is crude soft-porn with few redeeming features. Were impressed with Danning’s amazing costumes though; never realised you could do so much with a roll of coloured crepe paper. The hero starts off driving a DeLorean, which rapidly goes in for repair, and is replaced by a series of less-expensive junkers which the production can afford to abuse. The over-frequent voiceovers that add nothing to the plot. The sub-plot involving a family who’d have been thrown off the Dukes of Hazzard for being too stereotypical. Need I go on?

    With all the bed-hopping, this isn’t a film that has dated well – two decades of AIDS see to that. But it’s hard to imagine an era in which this could ever have seemed like passable entertainment. The occasional spurts of genuine imagination (such as the resolution, which I have to admit we didn’t see coming) aren’t nearly enough to justify the 101-minute running time. I suspect that a film concentrating on Luciana would have had much more potential – albeit at the cost of several more rolls of crepe.

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Darby Hinton, Sybil Danning, Brett Baxter Clark, Lori Sutton

  • Hard Ticket to Hawaii


    Also known as Hard Titties in Hawaii – at least in this house – it’s a big step forward as far as the evolution of Sidaris’ work goes. After the flailing around that was Malibu Express, he’s now firmly settled on Hawaii as a location, and jiggly action/adventure as the genre. However, he still unfortunately seems to want to cram lame comedy in there, such as clunky references to his previous films, while many of the actors appear not to have been chosen for their thespian ability – to their credit, Speir and Carlton aren’t particularly the worst offenders.

    They play, respectively, a local agent and a former agent now embedded in a new identity, courtesy of witness protection, who stumble across two packets of diamonds belonging to drug dealers. With the help of a couple of colleagues, including the brother of Cody Abilene from Malibu Express (Cody has apparently gone off to learn acting – which certainly explains his previous “performance”), they have to destroy the crime syndicate, though I’m pretty sure you can fill in the rest of the plot yourself. Not least because of the wildly gratuitous “let’s take our tops off!” sequences, such as the relaxing brainstorming session, which naturally takes place in a jacuzzi. [Carlton doesn’t even bother to get anything above her belly-button wet.]

    The great majority of this film is actually a lot less fun than it sounds, since too many of the earlier scenes are pointless padding, despite blatantly thieving one of the best lines from Aliens. Even the nudity is not particularly well done, and the action is limited since the sum total of federal manpower is apparently “four” – I blame budget cutbacks. Then you reach a final 15 minutes where razor-edged frisbees, a villain who proves harder to kill than Jason Vorhees, explosive-tipped crossbows, and a snake contaminated with stuff from cancer-infected lab rats (no, really!) all suddenly play their part. This turns the last reel into berserk excess that’s gory by Sidaris’ standards, but undeniably and endearingly loopy. It’s just a shame that you have to sit through 75 pretty dull minutes in order to find this madly imaginative climax.

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Ronn Moss, Rodrigo Obregon

  • Picasso Trigger


    Salazar (Aprea) is a famously devious assassin who gets shot by a sniper just after he donates a painting (of the emblematic ‘Picasso triggerfish’) to a Parisian art gallery. This sparks a series of lethal attacks on undercover federal spy teams who are Salazar’s enemies. But are the various bad-guys, who use all manner of tricks to eliminate government agents, all working for a criminal mastermind?

    Sidaris makes amusing action films by casting Playboy pinups and hunky TV actors, and crafts low-budget Bond style thrills in exotic locations. There’s not much point in expecting greatness from these stereotyped heroes and villains, as the quintessential Sidaris formula simply requires some beautiful women to strip at regular intervals, a number of offbeat stunts and violent explosions, occasional bouts of kung fu, and frequent travel scenes in small planes, flashy boats and fast cars. On these terms, Picasso Trigger is a splendidly uncomplicated production showcasing several enjoyably ridiculous gadgets: a boomerang grenade, a radio-controlled toy car bomb, and a missile launcher disguised as a crutch!

    If what you want is a speedboat chase in which the hero cannot shoot straight, lots of busty babes in bikinis (or less) carrying enough weaponry to fight a small war, crooks guilty of everything from drug-smuggling to snuff movies and white slavery, and a scattering of throwaway one-liners, Picasso Trigger fits the bill, perfectly.

    Jeff Young
    Originally published in Video Vista

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Steve Bond, John Aprea

  • Savage Beach

    This one doesn’t really get going until the second half, when the search for a lost hoard of Japanese wartime gold, looted from the Philippines, leads to a remote island. There are CIA agents, revolutionaries, a left-behind Japanese soldier and, of course, our lovely heroines Dona and Taryn (Speir and Carlton) who end up there after their plane crashes in a storm. Or rather, “storm” – you can get a cheap laugh by seeing the bright blue skies as they land in the middle of a clearly hose-supplied downpour. Sidaris probably felt the need to justify their otherwise implausible strip-tease shortly after departure. Or do FAA regulation stipulate pilots must remove their tops in emergencies? Two take-offs for the price of one…

    Such clunky exploitation is disappointing, but the back and forth round the island is fun, though note how our heroines’ carefully-applied camouflage paint mysteriously vanishes minutes later. Not that it impairs their concealment abilities, given the brilliant white shirts they wear. Kudos to Teri Weigel as the rebel who spouts rhetoric before, during and after undressing, giving the lie to the myth that Playboy centerfolds can’t talk and walk simultaneously. The rest of the cast, however, seem to have problems in this department, though Speir acquits herself creditably.

    There does seem to be rather more blood here than usual, with some enthusiastic squibbing. However, the characters show a low level of intelligence that is, unfortunately, necessary to the plot. While I’m happy to forgive economies of scale – and, really, the film looks pretty good for the budget – it’s harder to accept flaws in the script that would have cost Sidaris nothing to fix.

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Rodrigo Obregon, Michael Mikasa

  • Guns

    Two federal agents (Speir and Vasquez) are hot on the trail of South American gangster Degas (Estrada), after one of their friends is shot during one of his hits – but perhaps that’s really what he wants? Zipping around from Hawaii to Arizona to Las Vegas, this was the first Sidaris movie I saw, and was probably better than I expected. While obviously not shot on an unlimited budget, most of the deficiencies are made up for in energy and a host of interesting characters.

    Those on the wrong side of the law come off particularly well: Estrada is suitably nasty, and his sidekick of few words is an early role for Danny Trejo. Add a pair of transvestite assassins, and Devin DeVasquez as Degas’ murderous squeeze, and the heroines seem kinda bland in comparison, despite good support from Chuck McCann and Phyllis Davis, making an impression in small roles. Cynthia Brimhall is perhaps the best of the cover starlets, though I could certainly have done without her lounge singer turn. Speir still seems to be finding her feet, while Vasquez merely looks pouty.

    It’s the action sequences which really show up the paucity of the production. Helicopters chasing motorbikes is all very well, but Sidaris might have been better off reining in his ambition, to something more in keeping with his pocket. The smaller-scale stuff works better, such as a nice double-hit involving a computer screen and a radio-controlled boat – they were supposed to return the computer and get their money back, but couldn’t get the blood out of the keyboard…

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Donna Speir, Erik Estrada, Roberta Vasquez, Bruce Penhall

  • Do Or Die

    In a filmography not exactly noted for thought-out plots, this maybe counts as one of the thinnest. Donna (Speir) and Nicole (Vasquez) are targeted by death for Kane (Morita) for their interference in his illegal business ventures. But rather than simply bumping them off, as any sane criminal mastermind would do, he informs them of his intentions to send six separate pairs of assassins after them, beginning the next morning. Our pair of federal lovelies head out of Hawaii, little knowing that a tracker has been placed on them, allowing Kane’s to follow them, while their master sits in his apartment and follows the progress of his “game” on a computer display resembling a bad TRS-80 game [younger readers can Google “TRS-80” if they need specifics], as they proceed from Las Vegas to Louisiana, with a motley crew of associated agents in tow, including infamous Meyer model, Pandora Peaks. No prizes for guessing her role.

    There seems to be an awful lot more sex than violence here; the action sequences are not exactly thrilling, and the assassins are, almost without exception, entirely incompetent, so pose little or no threat. Even the boss level ninjas that represent the final obstacle are easily fooled into hanging around inside a hut long enough to be blown-up. The structure is obvious: the ladies are attacked, fend off their assassins with some semi-nifty piece of technology, then there’s the required love-making scene, showcasing generally artificial attributes. Rinse. Repeat. Six times. It’s kinda amusing to see Morita playing a bad guy, not least because his massaging Oriental sidekickess is a good four inches taller than him, as well as about forty years younger.

    Brimhall gets to do another musical number, which is startlingly inappropriate in just about every way, though I confess I did find myself humming along when it was replayed over the end credits. However, I also found myself seriously dozing off during the early stages, and little of what transpired subsequently proved sufficient to retain my interest.

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Donna Speir, Roberta Vasquez, Pat Morita, Erik Estrada

  • Hard Hunted

    It’s very easy to mock a film, when the lesbian necking starts before the meaningful dialogue, and is immediately followed by a musical number where Cynthia Brimhall channels the spirit of Jimmy Buffett. Yet the endearing loopiness on display here did a better job of keeping my interest throughout than many movies made with far larger budgets. The plot centers on a jade Buddha, containing a nuclear trigger, which starts off in the hands of Kane (Moore), only for it to be swiped by an undercover agent: she is gunned down, but passes it to Donna (Speir), who has to try and keep it out of Kane’s clutches. However, an unfortunate bout of amnesia leaves her partner Nicole (Vazquez) and the other agents trying to find her first.

    This is the usual mix of decent production values [if too much footage of aircraft flying], dumb plotting and breasts; the preferred method of communication is radio host Ava Cadell – who occasionally does her show topless from the hot tub. Just don’t drop the microphone. It’s harmlessly entertaining nonsense, and even has some local interest for us here in Arizona, with sequences shot in Phoenix and up the road in Sedona, though the geography on view is a little flakey. We particularly enjoyed Kane’s incompetent henchmen, Wiley and Coyote – as they helpfully point out, “Those are codenames” – with their Acme brand hovercraft. While it’s clear the film doesn’t take itself seriously (the intelligence community is not, presumably, at it like knives on an almost permanent basis), more of this kind of genuine humour would be welcome, letting you laugh with the film rather than simply taking the mickey.

    You do get the feeling that Sidaris could make this kind of thing in his sleep: there’s nothing remotely innovative or challenging to be found here. Yet for what it is, this is slickly-made, with more ambition than usually found in the genre. Er, at least as long as the genre is that narrow subset of movies where horizontal action is of equal importance to any other kind – if you know what I mean, and I think you do…

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Dona Speir, Roberta Vasquez, R.J. Moore, Rodrigo Obregon

  • Fit To Kill


    Hang on, two movies ago, criminal mastermind Kane was Japanese – now, he’s the son of a Nazi officer who went on the run after the war with a diamond stolen from the Russians? I know I’m watching these all of our order, but still… They even refer to a pendant with a tracking device in it, given to the Japanese version of Kane, even though Moore now appears to be channeling Julian Sands, not Pat Morita. I’m so confused. Still, logic, continuity and coherence are not really the point here, are they?

    This centres on said diamond, which a Chinese businessman plans to return to the Russians. When the jewel is stolen during a ceremonial party, Kane’s presence makes him the obvious suspect, not least because he has hired infamous assassin Blu Steele (Strain), turning her to his side after her attempt to kill him is foiled by a bulletproof vest. However, is everything what it seems? It’s up to Donna and Nicole (Speir + Vasquez), and their friends, to solve the puzzle, while dodging remote-controlled attempts to kill them (including a particularly-dumb pair of assassins known as Evel and Knievel), pausing only for changes of costumes, hot-tubs and the occasional spot of soft-core love-making. In other words, business as usual for a Sidaris film.

    There’s a cheerful innocence to much of the nudity here, which harkens back to the 60’s, e.g. the radio station receptionist who has a hot tub as her desk, in which she sits topless. I actually prefer this approach to the more “intimate” scenes, and the relatively intricate plot also helps make this aspect a cut above [Kane and Donna end up having to work together after both are captured, which marks the first time I’ve genuinely been surprised by a Sidaris storyline development]. However, it does flag in the middle, and the obsession with remote-controlled models is not one I personally share, though overall, this still remains one of the better productions, with Strain fitting in perfectly as a villainess.

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Dona Speir, Roberta Vasquez, R.J. Moore, Julie Strain

  • Enemy Gold

    While containing many of the same elements as usual e.g. boobs and bombs, this does at least throw in a new angle, in the shape of some Confederate gold buried in the woods since the Civil War – I can only presume Sidaris must have befriended a Civil War re-enactment battalion. Out enjoying a bit of off-road action, amusingly-named federal agent Becky Midnite (Simpson) and her two co-workers stumble across a diary written by one of the soldiers transporting the gold. However, their plans to search for the treasure are disrupted by efforts to kill them, courtesy of mob boss Santiago. He is upset after they shut down his operation that involved shipping drugs in hollowed-out watermelons. Fed up with the ineptness of his minions, he hires even more amusingly-named assassin Jewel Panther (Strain) to carry out what they have failed to do.

    There’s a loopy insanity to elements of this that are kinda endearing, such as with Strain’s bizarre topless sword routine, which comes out of absolutely nowhere, or her costume when she meets a couple of park rangers, which is not your usual hiker’s attire, shall we say. No-one but Strain could probably pull that off, and she’s fun to watch as usual. However, after a prelude which explains the gold, the first half abandons it entirely, and goes off in a totally different (and not very interesting) direction, involving the raid which get Midnite and her squad suspended, amid political shenanigans and an agent who’s secretly working for Santiago. The final showdown between the various parties concerned is, quite possibly, the worst ever committed to celluloid, even allowing for the fact that Santiago is apparently a “hands on” criminal overlord, who believes that if you want a job done well, you should do it yourself.

    The action around the forest is well-staged, with a decent vehicle chase whose danger is enhanced by the lack of helmets worn by the participants, and you’ve got to love the crossbow whose bolts explode three seconds after embedding in the target. The sole purpose of this delay seems to be in order for the target to get a “Wile E. Coyote” moment of horrified realization before exploding. Hey, I laughed…

    Dir: Drew Sidaris
    Star: Suzi Simpson, Bruce Penhall, Tai Collins, Julie Strain

  • The Dallas Connection

    Among Sidaris fans, I imagine arguments over whether this one counts, much like the Never Say Never Again debate among 007 lovers. For this was directed not by Andy, but son Drew; Dad and Mom were merely executive producers. However, the content is much the same, though (and I can’t believe I’m writing this) Drew lacks the subtle touch of Sidaris Sr. Case in point: the very first shot is of the Eiffel Tower, establishing that this is Paris. However, the point is then rammed home with footage of the Arc De Triomphe, Place de la Concorde and Notre Dame. Similarly before the ‘South African’ scenes; we get so much wildlife footage, it feels more like the Discovery Channel.

    The story, also by the director (using his first name, Christian), is equally poor; something to do with a plan to steal chips being used in a new satellite system. Details are vague, too many sequences, such as the one at the race-track, are just meaningless filler, and the writer literally doesn’t know his acronyms from his anagrams. On the plus side, Julie Strain makes a good impression as a bad girl, leading her coven of killers who drop their tops at the drop of a…well, not just hat, but virtually any other piece of clothing.

    They operate out of what appears to be a combination line-dancing bar/strip-club called Cowboy’s in Dallas, where the four chips are scheduled to be integrated into the system. For safe keeping, the “bureau” give one to each of their agents – what’s wrong with a bank vault? – led by the ludicrously over-inflated Samantha Maxx (Phillips). Another key clue is bullets found at the scene of a drive-by shooting, days after the event. I’d have words with your forensic technicians.

    Long before the end, we were making our own entertainment, and you’ll probably get more fun from mocking this. One line is, “I told you – I bite”, to which the correct response is, “Unlike the rest of the film, which simply sucks.” “Do you think those are real?” asked Chris at one point, regarding a particularly scary pair of mammaries. “Yes,” I replied, “and the Pyramids are a naturally-occurring rock formation.” Little wonder Drew has since been relegated by Dad to second-unit work.

    Dir: Drew Sidaris
    Star: Sam Phillips, Bruce Penhall, Julie Strain, Wendy Hamilton

  • Day of the Warrior

    Andy was back on the helm for this one, but appears to have opted to go beyond subtle self-referential digs into full-blown camp, and I tend to think this takes away from the overall experience. The intent is clear when we are brought into the office of Willow Black, the head of L.E.T.H.A.L. (The Legion to Ensure Total Harmony and Law), and find her exercising on a treadmill in an outfit more suited for an exotic dancer. Which makes sense, because if you’re a female agent of LETHAL, you can bet you’ll be going undercover as a stripper or a porn actress – not quite the empowering government job one might expect. It also appears that breast enlargement surgery is required for all such operatives.

    The target this time is the Warrior (Bagwell, who was a fixture in WCW at the time), a former agent turned professional wrestler(!) turned liberator of ancient artefacts and runner of a range of dubious business enterprises, ranging from bootleg films to diamond smuggling. LETHAL have several agents undercover, but someone hacks into their computers (which seem strangely retro from this viewing point). So the spies have to be brought in from the cold by Tiger (Sidaris newcomer Marks) before their cover is blow, including Cobra (Smith), the aforementioned undercover stripper – though there’s not much of her under cover. There is also, for no readily apparent reason, a Chinese Elvis impersonator (Gerald Okamura), though I have to say, he is kinda engaging.

    The problem is, when it’s obvious the makers aren’t taking this seriously – and that’s clear from the handicap wrestling match which is the climax, between Willow and Elvis Fu on one side, and the Warrior on the other – why should the audience bother? And though the tone is clearly intended to be light-hearted, it’s not actually very funny: the comic hamming of the Warrior’s surfer-dude sidekicks is particularly dreadful. There also seems to be a lot of padding, such as stock-footage shots of Las Vegas, which go way beyond anything necessary or interesting, and you get far more uses of “I need to get something off my chest,” than are in any way amusing.

    And if ever I become an evil overlord, I will instruct all my minions on the perils of hiding out in a shack with “Fuel Supply” spray-painted on the side, especially when the opposition has access to an explosive-tipped crossbow… It can never end well for those seeking cover.

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Shae Marks, Julie K. Smith, Marcus Bagwell, Kevin Light

  • Return to Savage Beach

    This was Sidaris’s last film, and after the disappointment of Warrior, it’s nice to see him return to a more straightforward approach, with little of the post-modernity attempted there. It is largely a sequel to Savage Beach, with a raid on the LETHAL offices puzzling Willow (Strain) and her agents, because the only thing accessed was the files on that case, which have long been closed. However, it turns out the villain there, Rodrigo (Obregon) did not die in a fiery, explosive-tipped crossbow bolt explosion as thought, and now sports a nifty mask, apparently lifted from a production of Phantom of the Opera. He sends his blonde minion in her submarine(!), along with his ninjas(!!), back to the island to claim a priceless Golden Buddha buried there, and it’s up to Cobra (Smith), Tiger (Marks) and their himbo colleagues, to stop him.

    There are plenty of elements to provoke amusement here, witting and unwitting. The former would include a response to an agent’s description of her revealing dress as “Just something I threw on”, which is basically, “Looks like you missed low.” The latter? Their ‘Lacrosse’ satellite, which they use to track bad guys, but whose footage is clearly not taken from anything like overhead. There’s also the return of the remote-controlled toys, used to dispatch more than one guy, Ava Cadell’s reprise as the bikini-clad radio host of KSXY (along with the co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as her engineer Harry the Cat!), and how all the heroines and villainess are inevitably caught right when they are changing. I also enjoyed the nuclear countdown, which doesn’t just countdown, but does so in ever more hysterical tone.

    There are still some negatives: in terms of drama, the movie effectively ends with that countdown, but there’s still 20 minutes to go. So it’s mostly filled with a rambling explanation by Rodrigo of everything that has happened to him in the decade since…which turns out to be completely irrelevant [“How many endings does this story have?” asks one character, with justification]. It’d also have been really nice if they’d brought back not just Obregon, but also the female stars of the original Savage Beach, Dona Speir and Hope Marie Carlton, rather than just use stock footage; their IMDB credits don’t show them as exactly having been busy. Still, with lines like “Now, what about that swim?” – and, oh look, their tops have come off – this is a fitting memorial to Sidaris, containing all the elements which made his films what they were.

    Dir: Andy Sidaris
    Star: Julie Strain, Shae Marks, Julie K. Smith, Rodrigo Obregon

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