Monday, March 08, 2010

Bitch Slap

Bitch Slap is an homage to all those grindhouse movies of decades ago, where women were rough but ready, and guns blazed in fantastic feats. I had to see it because the producers, many crew members and actors were alumnae of Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journey.

We enter the film in the middle of the desert, and watch three beautiful women -- one leggy businesswoman, one psychotic drug addict, and one stripper with a heart of gold -- try to find some hidden treasure. Of course, they're dressed in short skirts and three-inch heels, perfect outfits for digging in the sand. There are a lot of mysteries attached to each woman, mysteries whose answers are revealed in flashbacks. The flashbacks, in my mind, confused the matter, but what the hell. We're not in it to make much sense of this. After all, when Camero pulls a gun out of, well, nowhere, and Trixie pulls a ninja star out of her, hmmm, well, you know you're in for something a little fantastical, a lot sexy and little sense. Any decent (indecent?) grindhouse movie features girls, girls fighting girls, girls having sex with girls, etc. You get the picture.

I wished Bitch Slap was as good as I just made it sound. It's overlong, the characters are confusing -- damn, every beautiful girl in this movie looks alike -- and most of the time you just don't care. But, then, I'm obviously not the audience for a movie where close-ups of faces and breasts run about 50-50.

It's good to see what else Erin Cummings can do besides look demure in the current T.V. sensation, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and she's quite effective as the leader of the pack, Hel. However, it took me a good 30 minutes to figure out which one she was, she looks so different. The other two women -- Julia Voth as Trixie, America Olivo as Camero -- acquit themselves well with dialogue that often doesn't make any sense or provide any transitions. And you can tell the fight scenes, perhaps the best part of the film, were choreographed by Zoe Bell, who doubled Lucy Lawless on Xena; she puts her own imprimatur on those scenes, and makes them look gutsy and dangerous.

But much of the film is boring, particularly after Michael Hurst's character dies and the script brings in characters who are stupid, just to pass the time. Still, there are some surprises and some laughs. And there are those women.

Thumb's up for what Bitch Slap purports to be, a silly little film about sexy women who can carry their own.


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