“The aroma of Troma is not necessarily a good thing.”
First off, bit of an retitling faux pas here. The heroine’s name is actually Drew: nobody ever calls her “Femme”, and this part of the title appears to be purely a Troma invention. Which is unfortunate, because “Femme Fontaine” is French for “squirting woman”. As I found out when Googling for an image to illustrate this. It took quite a long time staring at cat videos to detox from that, let me tell you. Anyhow, this is what could kindly be described as a labour of love for Hope, who stars, directs, wrote and produced this. Less charitable opinion may prefer the term “vanity project,” especially considers she never directed, wrote or produced anything else.
Heroine Drew Fontaine (Hope) is an assassin, who gets drawn into a murky web of shenanigans after her mentor, Master Sun (James Hong), an agent turned Buddhist priest, is gunned down during a raid by a neo-Nazi group on his temple [which may have been inspired by a real-life mass killing at a Buddhist temple in Arizona, three years earlier]. Turns out the place was being use to hold cash from an Oriental crime gang run by Mercedes Lee (Dao), being laundered through an adult movie producer. But the Aryan neo-Nation, under their Ilsa-like leader Gertrude Schank (Paxton), are instead going to use the money to fund research into biochem weapons of mass destruction, with the help of a former Nazi scientist. Fontaine is recruited by federal authorities for an off-book operation to infiltrate and destroy the group, which requires an unholy alliance with Lee – who, it turns out, had a relationship with Fontaine’s now-disappeared father.
I hope you were paying attention there, because this will be on the test at year-end. It’s definitely a slog during the early stages, with little or no narrative flow, instead consisting of scenes that start, proceed and end, without connection to the ones that precede or follow them. There’s also no consistency of tone: for instance, Dao appears to be approaching her role largely straight, but Paxton chews scenery at such a rate, she seems to have strayed in from another Troma project, the renowned/infamous Surf Nazis Must Die. Hope wobbles uncertainly between these extremes, not sure whether or not to take her own project seriously, and that inevitably infects the viewer with a degree of emotional apathy: you can’t commit to a film, if its makers can’t. Things do improve in the second half, and there’s one scene, where Fontaine and Lee are trying to extract information from a prisoner, that possesses a genuine edge which is refreshing. However, this never gets out of second gear; to be honest, I’ll remember the Google Image search much longer than the actual movie!
Dir: Margot Hope
Star: Margot Hope, Catherine Dao, Heinz Mueller, Lynn Paxton