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  Bitch Slap Ladies, Please!Buy this film here.
Year: 2009
Director: Rick Jacobson
Stars: Julia Voth, Erin Cummings, America Olivo, Michael Hurst, Ron Melendez, William Gregory Lee, Minae Noji, Kevin Sorbo, Lucy Lawless, Renée O'Connor, Dennis Keiffer, Scott Hanley, Mark Lutz, Debbie Lee Carrington, Zoe Bell
Genre: Comedy, Action, Thriller, Trash
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Three girls pull up in their car at this makeshift trailer park out in the desert and get out, walking round to the back which they open and drag their prisoner out of. Their leader, Hel (Erin Cummings), demands that he, Gage (Michael Hurst) tell them the location of the object they have been searching for, but he is reluctant even after the amount of beatings they give him, including slamming his hand in the lid of the trunk. Hel's right hand woman, Camaro (America Olivo), an ex-con like herself, is impatient but the girl they have along with them, Trixie (Julia Voth) is made of fluffier stuff and balks at the violence. Well, she's just going to have to get used to it...

With a no-nonsense title such as Bitch Slap, you might have been expected to be let down by the actual quality of the product as exploitation movies have a history of promising more sensationalism than they could really deliver. But the title sequence, made up of old clips of powerful women in cinema, certainly looked as if the filmmakers had their hearts in the right place, that place being the trashy thrillers of the sixties and seventies and not only the obvious aping of Russ Meyer. Meyer was undoubtedly an influence, of course, as he was on many low budget movies hoping for an ironic wallow in shapely females giving men what for - both sexually and in a domineering fashion.

So if this was tongue in cheek it did have the redeeeming feature of meaning what it said when it came to supplying the action. And for that matter, the powerful women, who here in a cheerful pandering to male fantasies are lesbians as well, leading to Trixie being caught in the middle between the desires of Hel and Camaro. Oddly, none of these three ever took their clothes off throughout the running time - bits of their outfits may have been ripped or blasted off in explosions, but there was no nudity to be seen here aside from a blink and you'll miss her topless stripper. Perhaps director Rick Jacobson wanted to pay homage to Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and keep his cast members feisty but retaining their modesty.

Or perhaps there were "no nudity" clauses in the three leads' contracts. Whatever the reason, put the chance of seeing that kind of thing to the back of your mind and take Bitch Slap in the spirit of an eighties action flick: think a twenty-first century Cannon effort, with green screen replacing the usual warehouse locations that peppered their stories. As with much of this genre, the desert was utilised as the generally versatile site for the mayhem to take place, and the blazing sun and acres of sand are so familiar to fans of the movies this references, not only does it suggest that Jacobson and his team knew the territory, but you feel you're in a safe pair of hands as the bullets fly - and not only bullets, as there's a few throwing stars and a lethal yoyo to boot.

If there's a problem, it's that the script tried to do too much, leading to a plot filled with flashbacks which merely confuse the ability fo the viewer to follow what the hell is supposed to be going on. The main, desert-set parts are fairly straightforward, and you can understand why they'd add in these spoofy interludes to break up any potential monotony, but they do render the experience a little too clever-clever for its own good. By the end you will have worked out what applies to what, who has a relationship with whom and why they did what they did, but they should have kept it more simple instead of heading straight over the top and into science fiction, which doesn't really suit the originals quite as well as presumably they had hoped. But that said, Bitch Slap is packed full of energy, the cast relish their chances to be wicked, and it's streets ahead of the other spacefiller that passes for action on a budget. Music by John R. Graham.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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