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  Gang Boyz On The Wings Of Shove
Year: 1994
Director: Wings Hauser
Stars: Wings Hauser, Linda Blair, Cole Hauser, Talbert Morton, Dave Buzzotta, Carmen Zapata, Ernest Harden Jr, Beano, Cali Lili Hauser, Mitch Hara, Bright Hauser, Tom Hallick, Nicky Katt, Daryl Keith Roach
Genre: Drama, Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Marjoe Joiner (Dave Buzzotta) kisses his boyfriend goodbye one night and heads off onto the streets of Los Angeles to catch a bus home. But he misses one, and as he sits at the stop awaiting the next, two skinheads appear and sit beside him. Soon he has been dragged back to their lair, where he is subjected to a beating and humiliation at the behest of the neo-Nazis' leader, Bentz (Cole Hauser), who is rallying his troops in an assault on all that is decent in American society. When Marjoe's mother Maggie (Linda Blair) visits her son in the hospital, she knows there's only one course of action...

That's right, get Wings Hauser in to sort it out! Mr Hauser was not only the star of Gang Boyz, also known simply as Skins, but he wrote the script and directed it too, so presumably this was a labour of love for a man who had spent most of his career going straight to video, but even by his standards this was obscure. It appeared to be courting comparisons to the Australian neo-Nazi movie Romper Stomper, as if Wings saw that and decided he could teach those ne'erdowells a thing or two, but not before he got to stretch his acting muscles with a spot of alcoholic thespianism, playing a wreck of a man who happens to be Marjoe's absent father.

Marjoe?! Did Wings see Marjoe Gortner and think, no matter what you say about him, that's one cool name? Anyway, Hauser played Joe Joiner, and he had a terrible incident in his past which has forced him to the bottle in an attempt to forget it, for once upon a time he was a police officer and he accidentally shot a kid in the line of duty, and he has never forgiven himself. So when Maggie travels to Mexico to get him back, one can only wonder at her motives, especially as Joe is unhappy about having a gay son. This does, however, offer up the chance for the film's second favourite thing, and that's speech making as not five minutes go by without someone getting on their high horse and lecturing somebody else.

The film's first favourite thing turned out to be the montage, honestly, if you thought Sylvester Stallone overdid it with these sequences in his movies, then Hauser had enough here for a whole filmography of action flicks. So we got the skinheads terrorising people montage, set to an angry song, the training montage as Joe tries to get back into shape by running up a hill and chopping wood, and most memorably the sex scene montage where the getting on a bit by sex scene standards Wings and Linda strip off to show they've still got it, ladies and gentlemen, you can be sure of that. All of these and more have eighties-sounding rock playing over them, and it seems as if the director thought this inspirational.

Certainly his heart was in the right place, as standing up against fascism in whatever form is laudable, but in this case the villains are not given much motive, or indeed much screen time, as most of this is given over to Wings rambling in character - naturally Joe gets arrested for assaulting them while the skinheads get off scot-free. Cole, as the main baddie, was his real life son, and there were members of his family dotted around the cast, so it was plain he had a lot invested in the project, which was a pity considering how poor it ended up. A better bet would have been to make more of an action flick and stick the "take back the streets" messages and morals on by stealth, but as it was this was more of a drama where its creator wished to prove his acting chops, which he could have done if the material had been more impressive, but as everything frequently ground to a halt for more pontificating, with no apparent irony in the way the good characters do as much of that as the bad, if not more, it was easy to give up on this as sincere but a failure. You do get to hear Linda Blair sing, though.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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