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  Forbidden Dance, The Save The Rainforest!  But See Our Film First!
Year: 1990
Director: Greydon Clark
Stars: Laura Harring, Jeff James, Barbra Brighton, Miranda Garrison, Sid Haig, Ángela Moya, Richard Lynch, Shannon Farnon, Linden Chiles, Ruben Moreno, Gene Mitchell, Kenny Johnson, Connie Woods, Tom Alexander, Steven Williams, Sabrina Mance, Kid Creole
Genre: Trash, Adventure, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: In the Amazon rainforest, Princess Nisa (Laura Harring) takes part in one of the rituals of her tribe, which includes the forbidden dance known as Lambada, a great tradition among her people. However, just as they have completed their ceremony, a fleet of trucks appears and demolishes some of their shacks by ploughing straight through them, and a land developer called Maxwell (Richard Lynch) gets out to tell them all their homeland is about to be destroyed by his multinational corporation. What can they possibly do to prevent this?

Dance is what they can do, in a movie that marked the end of a very successful partnership in eighties moviemaking. Yes, it was the duelling Lambada efforts from both halves of the Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus team which signalled they had gone their separate ways and the notorious Cannon films production company was no more. So what better way to lament their passing than to watch both the Lambada flicks each of them rushed into production to cash in on the dance craze that most people were too embarrassed to actually take part in, and was mainly the preserve of magazine programme TV.

You know, where they would get the presenter to indulge in a spot of gyrating with a professional dancer, telling us that we would all be doing this on the dancefloor except that the whole sensation was over within the lifespan of the hit record by Kaoma in the pop charts. Golan was savvy enough to get that song into his movie, although his cousin Globus got to use the Lambada name and this was stuck with The Forbidden Dance, not that it helped either of them out at the box office because both films flopped, in spite of being made for peanuts. Really this was the same trick they had both implemented with their Cannon endeavours such as Breakin' and Rappin', only even they were not quick enough off the mark.

Still, we were left with an item of prime cinematic cheese to consider in this case, with a cast which included both serial baddie Lynch (who alarmingly gets to dance as well) and Sid Haig as the witch doctor who accompanies Nisa to the United States in an attempt to raise the conscience of those who support the evil company out to flatten their home. Haig didn't say much, but he was amusing as he performed arcane rituals, fooled the police who arrest him by roaring in a supernatural fashion, and getting it on with a maid who befriends the hapless Nisa. But if this was to be believed, it was the audience's right-on sense of justice for the rainforest which the film was actually appealling to.

There was a card at the credits to that effect, anyway, and Nisa will tell anyone who will listen about her fears for the Amazon, which might leave those few genuinely interested in the Lambada shortchanged, especially when they see Harring's Tina Turner-esque dancing. The point of this style was that the female partner would ride up and down the leg of the male partner, so veteran trash director Greydon Clark ensured there were plenty of closeups of just that as Nisa awakens the political side of rich boy Jason (Jeff James) and he escorts her through a cheapened version of the immigrant experience in America where they could be exploited at any moment. Nisa doesn't quite go on the game, but it's a close run thing, though this was more a musical version of Crocodile Dundee only without the laughs, the intentional ones at any rate. Add in eighties pop sensation Kid Creole and the Coconuts for the grand finale and the Kid's timeless message for evil corporations: "Boycott their ass!" and you had a possibly well-meaning, but to all appearances mercenary cash-in. Music by Vladimir Horunzhy.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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