Saturday, November 26, 2016

Too Hot to Handle (1977)

More sexploitation junk from the husband-and-wife team of filmmaker Don Schain and actress Cheri Caffaro, the folks responsible for three movies about libidinous private detective Ginger McAllister, Too Hot to Handle is a would-be thriller set in the Philippines. Caffaro plays an assassin named Samantha Fox, who lives on a yacht between completing high-priced hits. She often uses sex to lure victims, as when she coaxes a dude into a bedroom before tying him up and covering his head with a plastic bag. In another scene, she woos a lesbian cosmetics magnate into a mud bath, then suffocates the woman with electrodes normally used for skin rejuvenation. Pursuing Samantha from one crime scene to the next is policeman Domingo De La Torres (Aharon IpalĂ©). Schain tries for James Bond-style banter between Samantha and her dogged pursuer, but Schain’s predilection for sleaze ensures the dialogue never leaves the gutter. (Upon sensing Domingo’s sexual interest, Samantha says, “Promise if you rape me, you’ll work the case.”) While Too Hot to Handle has a coherent storyline and Schain employs extensive location photography to up the production values, there’s nothing here for a self-respecting viewer to enjoy. The martial-arts scenes are terrible, with the frail-looking Caffaro badly miming chops and kicks, and the sex scenes are tacky. Schain’s idea of clever cross-cutting involves juxtaposing Caffaro writhing with shots of a real cockfight. Throughout, Caffaro provides the same strange screen presence she did as Ginger McAllister. Gangly and tan, with bleach-blonde hair, she’s neither curvaceous nor particularly sexy, so her appeal presumably stems from being thin and uninhibited. And even though she tries to fill her line deliveries with badass attitude, she’s hopelessly inept.

Too Hot to Handle: LAME

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