Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Angels Brigade (1979)

So here’s a bad idea for a movie—make a sexy action thriller about curvy babes who team up to battle drug dealers, cast it with beauties who can’t act, reconfigure the piece as a comedy even though nobody involved with the project knows how to construct or deliver a joke, and produce the movie as a PG-rated release, thereby eliminating possibilities for lurid content. Such is the sad state of affairs in Angel’s Brigade, a stunningly awful escapist romp from schlock-cinema stalwart Greydon Clark, who produced, co-wrote, and directed this shameless riff on Charlie’s Angels. Presented very much like a cartoon, with comical supporting characters, goofy optical transitions, and stylized uniforms for the heroines, the movie feels wrong from its first frames. To the accompaniment of a messy score that includes everything from disco to orchestral music, teenager Bobby Wilson (Mike Gugliotta) rips off small-time dealer Sticks (Darby Hinton), provoking the ire of Sticks’ boss, Mike Farrell (Jack Palance). Bobby gets his ass kicked, and word of the beating reaches his older sister, Michelle Wilson (Susan Kiger), an up-and-coming pop singer. Hold on tight, because here’s where it gets weird. Bobby’s schoolteacher, April Thomas (Jacqueline Cole), approaches Michelle with a plan to attack and destroy a drug-processing plant, which should be no problem because—yes, this is really the reason she gives—Michelle has a song on the pop charts. The duo then recruits five more ladies, including a karate expert and a stunt driver, for their commando mission. Michelle’s income—again, from one pop song—pays for the whole enterprise. Overnight, the ladies become highly skilled soldiers in matching skintight jumpsuits. Clark tries for a light touch throughout most of the picture (watch for appearances by Gilligan’s Island costars Jim Backus and Alan Hale), then inexplicably ditches the jokes for “serious” scenes featuring villains played by Palance and Peter Lawford. The tone is all over the place, and the acting by the leading ladies is ghastly. Plus, it’s not as if Clark meant to deter the male gaze, because he frequently puts the curvaceous women into lingerie and low-cut gowns and swimsuits. There’s virtually nothing so disheartening as sleaze without the courage of its convictions, because what’s the point? Also known as Angels Revenge and Seven from Heaven, this dud is to be avoided by everyone except those who thrive on schadefreude.

Angels Brigade: LAME


Guy Callaway said...

But they have a cool custom van, so..there's that?

Jocko said...

To be avoided at all costs...unless you watch it on 'Mystery Science 3000.' One of the funnier episodes of the series imo.