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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

BITCH SLAP -- DVD review by porfle

I just got through watching--experiencing--the raucous, explosive, titillating, jaw-dropping, hilarious, and generally rather stimulating BITCH SLAP (2009), and I feel like I've just spent a fun-filled day at B-flick Disneyland. This is one of the most absolutely freakin' awesome movies I've seen in years. I can imagine Tarantino and Rodriguez wha**ing off to it in paroxysms of utter joy. For a good time, call this movie.

After a delightful main titles sequence, the story begins with three ruthless women arriving at a secluded mobile home in the desert, trying to track down some hot diamonds, a "nano-swarm" biological warfare device stolen from the CIA, and whatever MacGuffins might pop up along the way. Hel (Erin Cummings) is the leader and brains of the group, Camero (America Olivo) is the snarling, hot-headed strong-arm, and Trixie (Julie Voth) is the simpering stripper used to lure bad-guy Gage (Michael Hurst) into revealing the location of his hidden stash. It's here that most of the action will take place, while numerous flashbacks reveal (in MEMENTO-style reverse chronological order) the events leading up to it, including explosive shoot-outs, James Bond-style exploits, and sexy nuns.


Erin Cummings represents the old-school, voluptuous Russ Meyer-type babe who looks retro-stunning in a 40s-era "Rosie the Riveter" outfit or a slit skirt with fishnet stockings. America Olivo rocks as one of the toughest, most out-of-control psycho bitches ever. As Trixie, Julie Voth is the quintessential weak, vulnerable ditz who screams "Eek!" and makes even something as simple as digging a hole look like a trip around the stripper pole.

All are costumed to show off their ample assets which the camera unabashedly explores at every opportunity, and they perform everything from searing lesbian love scenes to some of the all-time greatest chick fights ever filmed with equal skill. They even manage to bring conviction to some of the most intentionally cheesy dialogue you're likely to hear, such as:

"Ram this in your clambake, bitch cake!"
"Blow my biscuit!"
And, of course, the immortal: "I'm gonna baste your giblets, butter britches."

Two separate fist-pounding showdowns between Hel and Camero are spectacular setpieces that benefit from the expertise of stunt-coordinator and stand-in Zoe Bell ("Xena", KILL BILL, DEATH PROOF) and are the catfight equivalent of the John Wayne-Randolph Scott free-for-all in THE SPOILERS. Big guns, swords, chains, razor-edged yo-yos, explosions, and everything else you can think of come into play in several other blazing action sequences--this movie just keeps being great scene after scene.


From the moment director Rick Jacobson introduces the main characters as they emerge from a Thunderbird in the middle of the desert, you know he's going to go all out with all the eye-candy stylistic flourishes he can pack into this film. Slow-mo, split screens, speed-up/slow-down effects, some (restrained) Shaky-Cam, creative editing--generally all the cinematic confetti that can ruin a DTV action flick in lesser hands--are all handled here with just the right touch and add up to a richly visual experience. Even the green-screen used in the flashbacks is handled well and gives those scenes a pleasing fantasy look. It's as though Jacobson were transferring his wildest flights of fancy onto film directly from his fevered brain.

Having worked on such TV series as "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena: Warrior Princess", Jacobson also manages to stock his cast with familiar faces such as Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor (as a couple of nuns), Kevin Sorbo as Hel's secret-agent boss "Phoenix", and, best of all, Michael Hurst as "Gage", the bad guy who's out to get his hands on whatever the girls are looking for before they do. Producers Jacobson, Eric Gruendemann, and Brian Peck appear in brief but funny cameos, and BIKINI FRANKENSTEIN's Christine Nguyen shows up just long enough to get sprayed with gore. Even the diminutive blonde Debbie Lee Carrington can be seen firing a machine gun just as she did way back in TOTAL RECALL. And last but not least, there's William Gregory Lee as Tourette's-spewing punk thug "Hot Wire" and Minae Noji as his nasty-girl sidekick "Kinki."


BITCH SLAP is a dizzying melange of comic books, music videos, Hustler Video, Tarantino references (Hel, we discover, is a former member of "Flesh Force Foxy"), biker flicks, James Bond by way of Austin Powers, sci-fi, horror, and chunks of Russ Meyer's "Faster Pussycat--Kill! Kill!" along with shades of other kickass action movies. As a loving homage to bad-but-beautiful babes who fight, shoot guns, talk tough, and generally kick ass while managing to be gorgeous at the same time, BITCH SLAP is off the dial. There's more cool stuff in this movie than a six-month subscription to "Girls 'n' Guns." It's like everything ever shown on Spike TV crammed into two hours.

The DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is 2.35:1 widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital, with English and Spanish subtitles. There are two fun and informative commentary tracks, one from producers Jacobson, Gruendemann, and Peck, and the other featuring stars Cummings, Olivo, and Voth. There's also an excellent feature-length documentary called "Behind 'Bitch Slap': Building a Better B-Movie."

BITCH SLAP is the kind of film Larry Bishop was desperately trying to make when he made HELL RIDE. Some people will hate it, and if you're like them, you will, too. But if you're like me--heaven help you--you'll love it, and you'll think it's one of the best B-movies ever made.

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