Monday, March 8, 2010

Tag-Team Review: Bitch Slap (2009, Rick Jacobson)

Shon Richards and I decided to do a joint review of Bitch Slap. Here is the result.

Darius Whiteplume: "One of the great things about B-Movies is that occasionally you get to witness something really transformative; a film that changes the way A-List movies work. Night of the Living Dead for example, or perhaps THX 1138. Talented people without money can do great things when they are passionate. Will Bitch Slap change A-List cinema? Probably not, but it is not without its qualities.

"Rick Jacobson and co-writer Eric Gruendemann both have a long background in television and film, most notably for work on Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. They bring a lot of that style, and a lot of their former colleagues to Bitch Slap with appearances by Lucy Lawless (Xena), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Renée O'Connor (Gabrielle), and as the lead villain we have Michael Hurst (Iolas). Also, the film's stunt coordinator is Zoë Bell."

Shon Richards: "I was wondering if there was a Hercules/Xena connection. Not because of the costars, but because it shares that same insane sensibilities of how the world works. Just like thinking Hercules was Mythology would get you flunked out of English class, Bitch Slap will not prepare you for a world of guns and chicks.

"That to me was what really made the film work. In the real world, strip club parties are not held at the Department of Homeland Security. In the real world, yo-yos are not deadly weapons despite Japan furiously working on the problem. In the real world, psycho bitch lesbians don’t look as awesome as Camaro. In most movies when you see this stuff, it takes you out of your suspension of belief. In this movie, all these outrageous elements help glue each other together."

DW: "Superficially the film is about three women searching for treasure buried in the desert; Hel (Erin Cummings), Camaro (America Olivo), and Trixie (Julia Voth). They have taken the criminal Gage (Michael Hurst) so he can show them where it is. Obviously, you can't have that as the entire plot, so there is a lot of playing with back story, and a twist ending.

"To many, the film may not seem to be what the title suggests to them. In the 'making of' segment on the DVD, America Olivo explains that when she accepted the role, she thought, 'this is porn, isn't it. That's what my career has come to.' But it is a far cry from porn. There is almost zero nudity, but it is definitely a jiggle fest. There are some highly gratuitous scenes of clothed sexiness, and a seemingly inappropriate water fight cum wet t-shirt contest. All this is just buildup to a bare-knuckled, gun-slinging, semi-psychotic second half that is nearly all action."

SR: "As a porn writer and watcher of many softcore movies, I was impressed with how sexy this movie was for its lack of nudity. Part of that came from embracing the strange unreality that the movie presented. Of course sweaty girls digging in the desert are going to douse each other in water. That is just what they do here. In normal softcore movies, it would have been forced and silly. Here it was silly yet somehow natural. I don’t know how they did that. I am terribly jealous.

"The lesbian sex scene is in my top five list of all time best movie sex scenes. Hel and Camaro somehow became sexier the more beat up they became. These ladies even made blood look awesome. There should be an artbook about this movie.

"As for the action scenes, you will not get better fight scenes anywhere. Holy crap, the final fight alone is worth the price of the DVD and it is only one of many. There is a higher action-per-second ratio than what you find in average 80’s movies. Guns, knives, punches, chains, rockets and killer yo-yos are just some of the dangerous things you will see used. I could be wrong, but I think there was a midget with a machine gun."

DW: "You did. That was Debbie Lee Carrington as 'Hot Pocket.' I thought it was Bridgette the Midget at first. Carrington has done a lot of film and TV. You might recognize her as 'Emperor Penguin' in Batman Returns… Wait. No you wouldn’t. Anyway, she’s in a ton of stuff. If I remember correctly, there was a hot midget in Total Recall. That was her.

"The movie pays homage to other styles and films. There is an obvious Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! relationship, as well as nod to Quentin Tarantino, Frank Miller, and The Usual Suspects. The story is not linear, being played out in flashbacks that setup the end game. Jacobson and Gruendemann have writing and directorial chops, so this isn't just a film made by guys who could find hot chicks to cast. The low budget is limiting, but also freeing in many senses as they have complete control of the film."

SR: “I have to admit that the opening montage of clips from other movies made me nervous. You show a clip of Coffy and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! At the start of your movie, you have set the bar pretty high. Looking back I can see that they were trying to set the mood but I thought it was a huge gamble. I am just relieved they pulled it off.

"The flashbacks were very well done. You are exactly right in saying that these are not your normal hot chick focused writers and producers. There is a story here chained together with some awesome action sequences. Even the jiggle scenes are tied into the plot. The final fight is between the two most interesting characters as it should be. Even when the plot goes in directions too ridiculous to repeat, the story stays coherent.

"I do wonder if they can pull off another movie like this. I wouldn’t call it a parody of b-movie action/tease genre, as much as it was an elevation of the art form. I wonder if they have enough in them to do another movie like this that wouldn’t be a rehash of what they have already done."

6 comments:

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

This was an excellent review of an excellent action movie. I admire it more and more everyday and have watched it twice since I wrote my innitial review (which are usually written as I watch the movie) I appreciate how much further you went into the details and that you validated my appreciation of this flick. Like 'Black Dynamite' this movie is made by people who clearly love movies. I so could watch Bitch Slap - The Early Years when and if they make me a prequel. Then there are the action figures. Who wouldn't want a Camero or Hel in Snow Bunny Costume or Trixie with Angel Wings figures? Meow indeed.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Action figures! That is the best idea I have heard all day!

Geof said...

I saw a few copies on the shelf at my local BB but they were all sold out. Nice co-review. I am in the mood for an action flick today so might have made up my mind for me in what to rent today...if they ALL still aren't rented out.

Darius Whiteplume said...

It is a good watch. Definitely fun. Glad you liked the review.

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

With a name like 'Bitch Slap', and cameos by Xena and Hercules, there's no way I can pass on this movie!

Darius Whiteplume said...

It is a lot of fun. Xena and Gabi are in just a short scene, but it is funny.

Post a Comment