Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wonder Women (1973)

          Ignore the title’s allusion to a certain Amazon princess. Rather than being wholesome empowerment, this flick is a grungy and slightly insane thriller with aspects of horror and science fiction. The title refers to a squad of lethal babes who serve at the pleasure of their mad-scientist employer, also a woman. Judged by any rational criteria, Wonder Women is thoroughly rotten, thanks to an idiotic plot, an overabundance of boring chase scenes, and other shortcomings. Consumed as a straight shot of grindhouse weirdness, Wonder Women is quite something. Here’s an attempt at synopsizing the loopy storyline. In the Philippines, evil Dr. Tsu (Nancy Kwan) tasks her babe squad with kidnapping top athletes, including a popular jai alai player. Dr. Tsu harvests the athletes’ organs and sells them to rich old clients who want to reclaim their vitality. An insurance company holding a policy on the jai alai player hires ex-cop Mike Harber (Ross Hagen) to find the missing athlete. After several run-ins with Dr. Hsu’s lissome agents, Mike gets brought to the doctor’s lair, where she tries to seduce him with a session of “brain sex.” (More on that shortly.) Will our intrepid hero escape the honey trap and return the kidnapped athletes to their rightful places in the world’s stadiums? And what’s the deal with the long sequence taking place at a cockfight?
          Wonder Women is really two movies in one. The stuff with Mike conducting his investigation comprises a standard thrilla-in-Manila potboiler, all chase scenes and fist fights and shootouts. The stuff with Dr. Hsu, photographed exclusively on soundstages, is trippy—with all the brightly colored backgrounds and tinfoil production design, Dr. Hsu’s world seems like the same one occupied by those weird aliens in Godzilla movies. Dr. Hsu even has a dungeon filled with survivors from experiments in crossbreeding men and animals. (Shades of Dr. Moreau.) As if all that weren’t enough, Wonder Women also features catfights, dart guns, karate, nude underwater ballet, Sid Haig wearing a puffy shirt, and Vic Diaz—corpulent and sweaty, just the way you like him—driving a cab. And then theres the brain-sex bit. In the movie’s wildest scene, Hagen and Kwan strap on helmets, sit next to each other, and moan and writhe uncontrollably while their cerebellums get carnal. It’s amazing they made it through the whole bit without laughing themselves silly. You won’t.

Wonder Women: FUNKY

1 comment:

Allen Rubinstein said...

Also made for a pretty decent Rifftrax entry.