Saturday, May 17, 2014

Seven (1979)

          One of those peculiar characters who makes the world of exploitation movies interesting, Andy Sidaris began his film career respectably, helming episodes of ’70s action shows including Kojak and winning awards for directing sports broadcasts. Yet Sidaris had bigger things in mind—specifically Bullets, Bombs, and Babes, the brand name for a series of low-budget flicks that he produced in the ’80s and ’90s. The seeds for the series were planted in Sidaris’ first two features, the Roger Corman-produced Stacey (1973) and this escapist adventure. In fact, Seven introduced Sidaris’ signature move of casting models from Penthouse and/or Playboy. From this point forward, Sidaris’ oeuvre comprises little more than nudity and violence. Seven stars the singular William Smith, a bodybuilder-turned-actor with a certain kind of animalistic charisma, as a covert operative who assembles a team of hotties and tough guys for a suicide mission. Explosions, murder, and sex ensue. Although the specifics of the story don’t really matter, the picture revolves around a crime syndicate that’s angling to take over Hawaii. A shady government figure hires mercenary Drew (Smith) to murder the heads of the syndicate. “We need an organizer,” the G-man says, “some stud who can put together a real mean unit.”
          Yes, folks, we’re deep in the realm of male fantasy here, which is why operatives Alexa (Barbara Leigh) and Jennie (Susan Kiger), as well as various sexy women on the periphery of the story, often deliver dialogue while slipping in or out of their tops.
          Eventually, Drew and his hired killers decamp to Hawaii and make elaborate plans for coordinated assassinations. The schemes in Seven are laughably far-fetched, except perhaps for the simple bit during which Cowboy (Guich Koock) pours gasoline on bad guys and then lights them on fire. By any reasonable standard, Seven is quite stupid, but some of the onscreen nonsense is amusing. Consider the bit when a traditional Hawaiian dancer kills an audience member by throwing a flaming spear, or the running device of a hit man who rides up to victims on a skateboard and uses weapons including a crossbow. Plus, there’s a sprinkling of dim-bulb humor, some of which is intentional. And, of course, there are many good reasons why the women with whom Sidaris decorates the movie earned their notoriety through the act of disrobing. One could live a happy life without ever seeing an Andy Sidaris movie, but at least Seven provides 100 minutes of scenery, sleaziness, and (William) Smith. Perhaps not the stuff that B-movie dreams are made of, but close.

Seven: FUNKY

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