Monday, January 4, 2016

Hustler Squad (1976)

So you’re an Allied commander during World War II, and you wish to strike a crushing blow against the Japanese military. Do you launch an air strike or a ground assault? No. You hire a motley crew of attractive women, train them to kill, help them infiltrate a group of hookers who’ve been hired to service Japanese officers during an R&R trip, and you unleash the babes. Or at least that’s the thinking of Major Stony Stonewall (John Ericson), the porn-moustache-adorned U.S. Army officer in charge of the Hustler Squad. Produced on a slender budget in the Philippines, this ridiculous and slow-moving action picture tells an outlandish story without anything approaching the sly wit needed to put such a goofy premise over. While it’s true the filmmakers make some ham-fisted attempts at characterization and irony, Hustler Squad is deficient on every level that matters. The re-creation of a historical period is slipshod, the circumstances of the storyline are unbelievable, the acting ranges from awful to mediocre, and the sporadic action scenes look cheap and fake. Even the picture’s titillation factor, presumably the raison d’être for this sort of cartoonish trash, is tame—beyond a few leering shots of breasts, there’s not much here to excite the heavy-breathing set. A few scenes are unintentionally funny, and some of the starlets (particularly Finnish beauty queen Johanna Raunio) are quite lovely. Plus, naturally, Filipino B-movie mainstay Vic Diaz makes an appearance. But seeing as how the filmmakers squandered a concept that should have rendered memorable grindhouse excess, Hustler Squad is a 98-minute misfire.

Hustler Squad: LAME

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