Strike of the Tortured Angels

Dir: "Roy Rosenberg"
Star: "Susan Lee", "Stella Jone", Laura Sode, "George Bill"

Never have I used so many quotes in the credits: I'm assuming pseudonyms for just about everyone, since the IMDB says they never appeared in anything else. The honorable exception is Sode, who it appears is now a location manager on big-budget Hollywood flicks like John Carter. Who knew? This delightfully trashy early-80's slice of HK cheese sports one of the most-exploitative titles of all time, even if it largely fails to live up to it, there's not much striking or torture to be found here. It's about three young women, sent to a reform school on an island off the coast, who escape and go back to the mainland, where they take revenge on the people responsible for their predicament. In particular, that would be a sleazy doctor who cares only about his career: he dumped a sister after getting her pregnant, thereby leading to her suicide. He hasn't changed a bit, and inevitably receives his just deserts. Particularly outstanding among the girls is the one who makes a great fuss about being black, even though she is very obviously Asian, with an Afro wig and black face in the truest sense of the word, in that her neck and shoulders are obviously a different skin-tone, even in the atrociously-faded VHS print, complete with what seems to be Danish subs, that was viewed here [and this was a commercially-released DVD, I should mention]. That shows you the level of competence we are dealing with here.

I enjoyed this thoroughly, from the opening sequence where an inmate makes a bid for freedom, only to be grabbed by a guard - this leads to them wrestling around in the mud, for far longer than is necessary. Admittedly, it does run out of steam somewhat after the girls go on the lam, turning into something closer to a rejected episode of General Hospital than anything, and for a women-in-prison film, it's really pretty tame, with one shot of buttocks and some mild violence that might earn it a PG-13 rating, if the censors were feeling particularly strict. Still, it spends most of the time teetering on the edge of full-blown hysteria, and you've got to love a largely-pirated soundtrack that, in a five-minute spell, can lift clips from Jean-Michel Jarre, an orchestral version of a Bee-Gees' song, and the Yellow Magic Orchestra. That, again, should give you some idea of the loopy insanity to be found here, and that's even before I mention the stage 4 tuberculosis with which a leading character is infected. Yes, it's Disease of the Week TVM time! To borrow a line from the great philosopher, Jay-Z, this film has 99 problems, but boredom certainly isn't one.

[April 2012]

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