“And no: neither of the actresses on the cover actually star in the film, as far as I can tell.”
When Chino (Rodil) beats up his woman, Lucia (Sparagna) decides it has happened for the last time, and accompanied by her two friends, Celia (Mortel) and Miriam (Cho), she gives him a dose of his own medicine, with a baseball bat. This turns out to be a clear case of thinking without acting, because it turns out he’s a big kahuna in one of the local gangs, and is now out for revenge on the trio. After a drive-by cripples their vehicle (a ghettomobile with the amusing personalized plate, ‘ICUHATN’), they are stuck deep in enemy territory, with a lot of unfriendly people looking for them. And even if they make it out alive, what then?
I like the idea a lot: it could have become a Latina take on The Warriors, an urban nightmare journey pitting the heroines against a range of city low-lives, as they battle their way back across Los Angeles. And, perhaps surprisingly, the acting is not terrible: I was expecting something sub-amateur, but the three ladies are competent, and Rodil is actually more than adequately unpleasant as the villain. Arellano knows where to point the camera too – and, as an aside, you do not appear to need any knowledge of his previous Hoodrats. Two things, however, undo all the positives, and send this heavily into the red.
Firstly, the script is really badly written, with any number of scenes that outstay their welcome or are simply unnecessary. I’ll describe a couple of the worst offenders. Late on, two of the women are captured; the third just wanders off, bumps into a complete stranger and has an irrelevant conversation, resulting in her grooving out to some tunes. What? That, however, is a masterpiece compared to the scene where they seek help from the local king pimp, the inexplicably-British Baron of New Orleans. He looks like Simon Pegg, sounds (dubbed?) like Russell Brand, and must have been an investor in the film, because there is absolutely no justification for the seemingly endless minutes of screen time allocated to his vapid burblings.
The other problem is the fights, which are largely predictable, uninteresting and completely fail to be hard-hitting. For instance, the enemies met by the three women as they head home, are inevitably…three women, and the sluggish cartwheel move Lucia uses, apparently inspired by capoeira, doesn’t improve with repetition. I’ve seen films where my attention drifts away, except during the action scenes: here, however, it drifted away more during the action. It builds to a finale in what could well be a school gym, that is ludicrous in its implausibility, though is a fitting end to an inept work.
Dir: Edgar Arellano
Star: June Marie Sparagna, Donnabella Mortel, Arden Cho, Neal ‘Xingu’ Rodil