Yet more women-in-prison sleaze from the Philippines, only this time with a modern-day-pirates angle, The Muthers does not merit any special mention in the areas of execution, imagination, quality, or taste. It’s a crude piece of work, with grungy photography, needle-drop scoring, and way too many beatings and executions and rapes. Within those narrow parameters, however, the movie more or less gets the dirty job done. It’s a live-action comic book for leering fans who dig bloodshed and smut, and it features two of the loveliest African-American starlets working the low-budget cinema circuit during the ’70s, former Playboy model Jeannie Bell and former beauty-pageant winner Jayne Kennedy, who later became a sportscaster covering the NFL. Given the predominantly black cast, The Muthers also qualifies as a blaxploitation flick.
The picture opens on the high seas, where a pirate gang led by Kelly (Bell) plunders mercilessly. When Kelly learns that her sister has been kidnapped by slavers and thrown into a prison that’s used as a meat market for men eager to buy women, Kelly makes a deal with the government—she’ll break into the prison and expose the slavers’ scheme, in exchange for the sister’s freedom and a pardon for the pirates’ crimes. The plot is illogical and laborious, but seeing as how the prison is named “Get Out If You Can,” the intellectual resources available to the filmmakers were not boundless. Upon arriving at the prison, Kelly clashes with Serena (Kennedy), a glamorous inmate who avoids hard labor and physical abuse by serving as the warden’s live-in concubine. Will the ladies join forces and mount an escape? Have you ever seen a prison movie before?
Considerations along the lines of acting, characterization, and style don’t matter much for a film like The Muthers, which is designed to generate as much titillation per scene as possible; as such, noting the ineptitude with which certain elements are handled seems pointless. Suffice to say that attractive women do lots of unattractive things, occasionally delivering badass one-liners. There’s also just enough tragedy in the storyline to lend The Muthers the faintest whiff of actual humanity—although that doesn’t detract, if that’s the right word, from the overall low-budget trashiness.
The Muthers: FUNKY