Bitch Slap - DVD review

Saturday, 24 April 2010 10:00

A gloriously shameless throwback to the exploitation flicks of the 1960s, the makers of “Bitch Slap” owe a lot to the likes of Russ Meyer and Roger Corman, as well as more recent fare such as “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Austin Powers”. This is certainly not a film for the faint-hearted or champions of Women’s Lib. What it is, though, is an explosive and in-your-face cinematic experience.

Hel (Erin Cummings), Camero (America Olivo) and Trixie (Julia Voth) are three buxom ladies in search of $200 million in diamonds. As we join them, their crazy adventure has led them to a windswept desert compound. Gage (Michael Hurst – Hercules: The Legendary Journeys) is their captive, and they will do anything to get him to reveal where the bounty is hidden.

Bitch Slap on DVDThe movie flashes backwards and forwards in a Lost fashion (complete with a similar noise), gradually revealing key plot points between six months and a few hours prior to current events. We discover how the leggy trio of temptresses came together, and how they formulated and executed their plan to steal the diamonds.

Each scene is full to the brim with cleavage, blood, filthy language, explosions, guns and bone-crunching violence. There are plenty of twists and turns, and several cases of hidden identity, including Pinky, a fearsome figure reminiscent of Keyser Söze from “The Usual Suspects”.

Those of a sensitive disposition will find an enormous amount of material in “Bitch Slap” to rant about, but for everyone else the film stays just on the right side of the taste barrier.

As with most other exploitation movies, the tone is very comic-booky and tongue in cheek. Whilst the statuesque ladies do their best to flash as much flesh as possible, their clothes resolutely remain in place, if increasingly damp, torn and tattered. There are some scenes of a pseudo soft porn nature, but everything is inferred rather than explicit.

In keeping with the comic book style, the movie is certainly action-packed. Stunt woman and fight choreographer Zoe Bell has crafted some exciting and brutal fight scenes, and all three female leads literally throw themselves into the fray with immense gusto.

The flashbacks help to add some variety to the otherwise slightly dull desert location; lots of green-screen shooting is effectively employed and does not feel out of place given how bright and colourful everything is. The movie moves along at a giddying pace. Even so, the 101 minute running time does feel a bit too long for such a draining film. Perhaps a little more subtlety, light and shade would not have gone amiss, as it does all become a bit monotone.

Director Rick Jacobson and Producer Eric Gruendemann were both heavily involved in Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess, and the same fun-loving, zany style pervades “Bitch Slap”. Alongside Hurst, Kevin Sorbo, Lucy Lawless and Renée O’Connor also have cameos. Even against the three bodacious leading beauties, Hurst steals the show on numerous occasions. His Gage is a delightfully over the top, sleazy and foul-mouthed criminal who enrages the ladies with his blatant sexism and defiance. Lawless and O’Connor as nuns also had me in stitches.

Alongside the main feature, the DVD also includes a mammoth 95-minute making-of documentary called “Behind Bitch Slap: Building a Better B-Movie” that I probably rate above all others I have ever witnessed. Although the film apparently had a modest budget, a lot of attention has been lavished on this feature, and it is nicely balanced in terms of talking-heads, location and studio behind-the-scenes clips and some truly hilarious skits by Hurst which I consider worth the asking price on their own! Every ten minutes or so he is featured performing straight-faced David Attenborough-style pieces to camera, extolling the thematic and artistic virtues of “Bitch Slap” in the most ironic, tongue-in-cheek way imaginable, and using highfalutin language normally reserved for The South Bank Show.

He evidently had a ball making the movie, and like the rest of the crew helped out selflessly wherever possible, including moving scenery and giving friendly advice to his co-stars about how to throw and sell punches. Attendees of the Cult TV events he starred at will already know what a wonderfully giving and entertaining man he is!

“Bitch Slap” (2009) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Momentum Pictures. The main feature is 101 minutes approx, with a certificate ‘18’. In addition to the fantastic making-of, a trailer and optional English subtitles for the hard of hearing are included (but sadly not the two audio commentaries found on the Region 1 disc). The DVD retails for £15.99 or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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