Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday: The Muthers (Cirio H. Santiago, 1976)

The Blaxploitation film  that wasn't. Well, sort of. The Muthers was made near the end of the Filipino exploitation explosion and stars Jeanie Bell (TNT Jackson), Rosanne Katon (Ebony, Ivory & Jade), Trina Parks (Darktown Strutters) and Jayne Kennedy (Body and Soul) as a band of female pirates who invade a coffee plantation prison to rescue Kelly's (Jeannie Bell) sister.

I say it is the "Blaxploitation film  that wasn't" because of a comment by one of the stars of the film in the documentary Machete Maidens Unleashed. Either Jayne Kennedy or Trina Parks mentioned that the roles were not written to be four black women, and despite it being very Blaxploitation geared it did not demand to be such from the script. That is just marketing. The Muthers is often mentioned as the only film to have four black female leads.

Kelly (Bell) is the pirate captain and Angie (Katon) is her lieutenant. When Kelly's sister, Sandy, goes missing they are informed that she is at a prison camp. The local law wants something done about it, as the prison is run by kidnappers rather than the state. They need someone to go in and find out what is happening... That, or they could just throw the pirates in jail. Kelly agrees, and she and Angie find their way into the prison. Inside they meet our tough veteran, Marcie (Parks), and begin the search between field labor and shower scenes. They also meet our fourth player, Serena (Kennedy) who is the warden's favorite but also friends with Marcie.

Ultimately, the idea that this is not truly Blaxploitation is a valid one. This could have been four women of any race, or even women of various races. It also could have been men. The WIP angle is pretty limited, and in the end it is very much a Chuck Norris movie, save that you don't have the deficit of Chuck Norris being in it. It is a decent, fairly well planned, fairly well acted action film full of gun-play and martial arts. The acting is not terrible. Kennedy and Katon are likely the high points there. Worth checking out, if you can find it.

Jeannie Bell as "Kelly" Captain of The Muthers
Rosanne Katon as "Angie" Lieutenant of The Muthers

Trina Parks as "Marcie" Hardened Veteran

Jayne Kennedy as "Serena" Head Trustee

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