“More is less. Much less.”
Bandits started as a hugely popular short – confusingly, titled Episode 7 – on Atomfilms.com. Its success led Grasse to churn out a number of extremely loosely-connected ‘sequels’ (also on this DVD), as well as 50-minute feature (sold separately) The Bikini Bandits Experience, featuring the late Dee Dee Ramone and Corey Feldman. The basic idea is grand, and is established in the original short, where bikini-clad, gun-toting babes rob a convenience store (which stocks some beautifully surreal imaginary products, not the least of which is ‘Beef Flaps’), kidnap a clerk, and lasciviously kill him. It is politically incorrect on almost every conceivable level, and on its own, is an undeniable guilty pleasure of the highest level.
Unfortunately, the rest of the series is no more than a sequence of tired rehashes, shuffling the Bandits into other settings (the desert, an Amish community, 1776), and there is no sense of development, progression or innovation at all. What was initially trashy fun becomes pointless through repetition – the final entry, Bikini Bandits Under the Big Top is just woeful. Grasse’s lurid directional style, which also packed a wallop for the first five-minute chunk, is one-note to the point of inducing a headache – I dread to think what the long version of Experience would do. It may be unique, but it’s still sad to see such a fine concept flushed down the tubes so relentlessly. And yes, that’s exactly how the title appears on the sleeve.
Dir: Steve Grasse
Star: Heather McDonnell, Heather-Victoria Ray, Cynthia Diaz, Betty San Luis