Thursday, October 23, 2014
Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987)
The late Andy Sidaris was a one-man exploitation factory. Along with his wife Arlene, he put out twelve amazingly bad films from 1985 to 1998, previously he had made a few films in the 70's and had a pretty damn good career in the field of sports broadcasting. As a film director, he specialized in horrifically cheesy action movies with laughable production values, impenetrable plots, tons of boobs and things blowing up with soap opera actors (though he occasionally got the odd B-lister like Erik Estrada or Sybil Danning. One film even has Pat "Mr. Miyagi" Morita in it) and Playboy Playmates populating his casts, as well as a few more familiar faces from time to time.
He also tended to let his films run way long, which is weird to say about a bunch of films that average about 96 minutes but really, none of these films needed to be more than 80. Roger Corman knew how to do this stuff right. Our feature today is about 95 and brother, there are times you feel every second of it!
I originally planned to cover all twelve but truthfully, these films are pretty damn awful and sitting through one of them is a chore, let alone twelve. Add to that the mind numbing repetitiveness of the films and I think I can justify settling for one. With that in mind, let the pain begin!
By the way, in researching, I found that all of his films had limited theatrical runs... Very limited would be my guess. Day, day and a half tops. Maybe two if it was a slow week.
The best of the series (and it's not really possible for me to use that term in a looser fashion), Hard Ticket to Hawaii sports the best title (as bad as it is, I do genuinely love that title, it just screams cheesy action movie), the most enjoyably ludicrous plot and some of the best unintentional laughs.
The plot, such as it is, involves two buxom federal agents... Well, one agent and a federal witness who has been teamed with the agent (the agent is played by Playboy Playmate Dona Speir who would do six more films for Sidaris) teaming up with two male agents (one of whom is the cousin of the hero of the first film and is a lousy shot without a rocket launcher which he is able to simply hold like a regular pistol... almost like it's a cheap prop or something) who come off as the happiest gay couple you could ever hope to see at times even though both are straight, to take down a diamond smuggling operation. Oh, and there's also an escaped giant snake roaming around... so there's also that.
If nothing else, the film moves fast for a Sidaris movie. We got a decent amount of action, a decent amount of nudity and an island full of stupidity. Tons of cheesy goodness too with extraneous jacuzzi time for the ladies; one of the most blatantly fake looking rubber snakes I've ever seen, an odd bit of self-referential humor as it turns out the first film in the series, Malibu Express, exists in the world of this film, a razor-bladed Frisbee and best of all, a hilarious sequence where our heroes are attacked by an assassin on a skateboard, inexplicably carrying a blow-up sex doll. Both are blasted to smithereens with a rocket launcher.
That alone is worth seeing as long as you're going to be sitting through the damn thing (or you could be smart and just look up the clip online). Just have beer and pizza handy. Or better yet, use the times where dick all is happening to make your own damn pizza and, if you have the tools, brew your own beer. There's enough of it to allow for that kind of in-depth activity.