Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Brute Corps (1971)

          Prior to bestowing qualified praise on Brute Corps, it’s important to note that the picture shares a problem with most of its exploitation-flick brethren, namely a horrific portrayal of women. The beautiful hippie chick at the center of the plot is introduced as a sexual object, saying things like “I like to ball—it’s the thing I do best in the world” and “I should have been a hooker.” Later, once she falls victim to the bad guys after whom the movie is titled, the hippie chick endures hours upon hours of gang rape. The filmmakers try to empower the character in the story’s final moments, but that’s a case of too little, too late. Having identified this picture’s ugliest aspect, now we can shift to the qualified praise—as simple-minded exploitation flicks go, Brute Corps isn’t the worst. The premise is slightly offbeat, there’s a smidgen of actual character development, and there’s a reasonable balance of action scenes and thriller sequences bordering on outright horror. Holding the whole thing together is a lively performance by the always-interesting Alex Rocco.
          The picture begins by introducing a group of soldiers traveling through the desert, and, in a separate thread, a pair of young hippies who meet while hitchhiking and subsequently become lovers. Turns out the soldiers are mercenaries passing through Mexico on the way to a job in South America. Things don’t go well for people who cross the mercenaries’ path, so, naturally, the filmmakers put the hippies and the mercenaries on a collision course. Although the male hippie escapes to seek help from ineffectual cops, the hippie chick’s best hope is Ross (Paul Carr), a mercenary who rebels against his companions’ vile behavior. Vilest of all is Wicks (Rocco), who memorably tries to buy a woman from her father, then acts affronted when he declines the overture. Oh, and fair warning—this film’s rotten soundtrack includes lots of fuzz-rock grooves that are way too upbeat for the subject matter. Adjust your tolerance for dissonance accordingly.

Brute Corps: FUNKY

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