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  Avenging Angel Not-So-Brilliant Disguise
Year: 1985
Director: Robert Vincent O'Neill
Stars: Betsy Russell, Rory Calhoun, Susan Tyrrell, Ossie Davis, Robert F. Lyons, Stephen M. Porter, Paul Lambert, Barry Pearl, Estee Chandler, Tim Rossovich, Frank Doubleday, Howard Honig, Ross Hagen, Tracy Robert Austin, Michael A. Andrews, Robert Tessier
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Molly Stewart (Betsy Russell) used to be a teenage prostitute known as Angel, but those days have been put behind her as she is now a successful law student, though she is still in contact with the cop who helped her off the streets, Lieutenant Andrews (Robert F. Lyons). Unfortunately, their chummy relationship is about to end, because one night he is rushing to the home of an undercover policewoman who is preparing to go to work, knowing that her cover has been blown. Alas, he is too late and just in time to catch the gangsters as they run out of her house, having killed her and her parents - and then they take shots at Andrews...

The original Angel film had been quite a hit for New World, so it was only reasonable that a sequel should be ordered up, with the same man, Robert Vincent O'Neill, behind the thrills. Or that was the idea, yet while the first one was no classic it at least supplied some decent exploitation sequences, but here Avenging Angel looked more like a feature-length episode of a television series with a spot of nudity and swearing added. Donna Wilkes was absent in this one, and in her place was eighties pin-up Betsy Russell, who similarly did not take her clothes off.

Although what clothes she does don are very small, because she has settled on going undercover to track down Andrews' murderers, but just because she is dressing like a prostitute doesn't mean she is turning tricks. In fact, there's absolutely no reason for posing as she does with the plot failing to offer any situations where such a guise might come in handy, but she does get the chance to meet up with some old friends, that is, the actors willing to return from the first instalment. So Susan Tyrrell is back as foul-mouthed Solly, but now she is looking after a baby (not hers).

That infant will become very important to the finale, but is this what viewers of Avenging Angel wanted to see, the cast cooing over babies? Surely they wanted the laughs and sleaze from before, but nope, they got to sit through such scenes as Rory Calhoun's gungslinging Kit Carson liberated from an old folks' home in a heartwarming fashion, complete with getaway in a pet cemetery hearse which makes comedy noises. But what of the villains, surely they're a threatening bunch? Well, they're a coterie of real estate developers who want to force Molly's friends from their homes. And they have guns.

Those gangsters are intent on killing the only witness to Andrews' death, a supposedly cutesy but in effect highly resistable chap called Johnny Glitter (Barry Pearl) who dresses like an extra from The Wiz and sprinkles, well, glitter around, complete with the sound of little tinkling bells as he does so. With an artist's impression of the main bad guy which looks nothing like him (they don't even get his hair colour right), our intrepid heroes do find the evildoers, and bump off one of the head honchos in a hilarious slipping on the wet floor through a top storey window routine, but as this would be a mercifully short film if that were the end, there's still half an hour of plot to get through after that. Avenging Angel is decidedly mild for a film that showcases the action it does, but surprisingly it spawned more, even lesser, sequels. Music by Christopher Young.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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