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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine - Hard Ticket to Hawaii

BONKERS

Welcome back for another ride on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. This time we will be visiting another Andy Sidaris film. If you are easily offended by bodacious breasts and explosions, oh boy, this movie isn’t for you. And with that said, I have our destination programmed. All aboard!

The year is 1987. The hippie beatnik community mourns the loss of artist Andy Warhol. Bill Cosby wins back his ex-wife and save the cute little animals in “Leonard Part 6”. U2 hadn’t found what they were looking for and Andy Sidaris continued his boob-a-licious action epic with “Hard Ticket to Hawaii”, complete with it’s own theme song. ‘Cause that’s what all the greatest action flicks have -- theme songs.

THE SKINNY
Hard Ticket to Hawaii” picks up right where “Malibu Express” leaves off. Or does it? What should be Cody Abaline and Contessa Lucianna meeting up in Hawaii for a sexy rendezvous, is instead Rowdy Abaline and Donna making love aboard the boat “Malibu Express”. For some reason the boat is the only thing that managed to live on in this spiritual sequel. It's explained later that Cody is Rowdy's cousin who has gone on to become an actor. Well, that explains that.

Donna, Dona Speir, is a Federal Agent living and working in Molokai Hawaii with her roommate and co-worker Taryn, Hope Marie Carlton, who is living in Hawaii as part of the witness protection program. In Las Vegas she witnessed some pretty heavy mob activity and now she is being protected by the government after testifying against mobsters. I'm sure this goes without saying, but both Donna and Taryn are played by former Playboy Playmates.
Though Donna is a Federal Agent, she and Taryn work as couriers. They fly packages and people in a single prop plane between the Hawaiian islands. During one of these trips, the girls are to deliver a touring couple to the remote end of the island so they can do it out in the open and not be disturbed. While doing so, a  crate containing a python that has been contaminated by cancer ridden rats is mistakenly lost and the killer python escapes onto the island. This isn't important now, but we'll see it again later.

Before the girls return home for the day, they interrupt a drug deal...or a diamond smuggling ring. I'm not sure which. A remote controlled helicopter is flown from Mr. Chang's boat off the coast that is sent in to deliver diamonds to a group growing marijuana in the wilderness of the island, lead by Mr. Romero.
Just as the girls discover the diamonds, they are discovered by Romero's hired muscle. With the use of nun-chucks and ninja stars the women manage to make it back to their plane and back to home. Here they relax topless in their jacuzzi while they figuring out what should be done with the diamonds.

Later that night, Donna and Taryn are attacked by more of Romero's men. I guess it isn't easy to make a clean get away with the name of the company you work for painted on the side of the airplane you're escaping in. The girls manage to scare the goons off, but now they know they will need Rowdy's help to save themselves and bring the criminals to justice.
As Rowdy and his partner Jade make their way to meet Donna, they are attacked by Romero's men. This scene is fuckin' bonkers! A man who goes by the name “Skater” rides his skateboard passed Rowdy's jeep, concealing a shotgun behind a blow-up doll. Skater takes his shot, wounding Jade and Rowdy retaliates by firing a rocket at both Skater and then the blow-up doll, exploding them in mid-air. It is truly the work of a b-movie master.

Meanwhile, Edy, a local hotel and restaurant owner, is kidnapped by Romero's men. They know that Edy has been helping the girls stay in touch with Rowdy and their Federal contacts. This isn't so important to the story. It just adds urgency to the film.
Donna, Taryn, Rowdy & Jade develop a plan to rescue Edy, which they do, and in the process they blow away all of Romero’s hired goons. Now only he remains, and if he is going to save face with his employer/business partner, Mr. Chan, he will have to take care of Donna & Taryn himself.

While the gang is away, Romero infiltrates Donna’s home and catches her off guard. First he attacks her with a knife and she retaliates with a harpoon gun she stores in a closet. After composing himself he attacks again, but this time she disarms him and stabs him in the gut with his own knife. THEN, he attacks once more, but this attack is timed perfectly with the return of the cancer rat infected python that erupts out of the bathroom toilet. LOL! It bites Romero in the face and kills him FINALLY!

The infectious snake them makes a play for Donna and Rowdy returns in the nick of time to save his love by firing a rocket into it’s face -- followed by the line; “Just when you thought it was safe to take a pee.”. LOL!
Rowdy & Donna then pay Mr. Chang a visit. How do they know who he is or how he’s involved? I have no idea. Donna draws her “hand cannon” on Mr. Chan and blows his ass out of a window.
And like the first film, this ends with all the remaining players involved aboard the Malibu Express celebrating a job well done.

THE VERDICT
Well Andy Sidaris has done it again. He took a simple premise and managed to jam as much crazy shit into it as humanly possible.

Much like the previous film, “Malibu Express”, this has mediocre acting and a convoluted story that left me asking myself a lot of questions when I say it for the first time. Having seen Hard Ticket a number of times, I now have a strong understanding of the story, but at one time there were A LOT of whos, whats & whys rolling around in my head. The reason for this is that there is so much back story for each character, which is so casually introduced, that much of it is easy to miss. Very little of which is actually important.

While the films of Sidaris often fall short of being great, I have to give him credit for putting so much effort into them. His films are independently produced and often straight to video. His use of flashy boats, high flying panes, fast cars, faster women and a healthy dose of explosions give his films the esthetic of having a higher budget than they actually had. Sidaris films are like any episode of “Magnum P. I.”, but with Tom Selleck replaced with a big breasted naked woman, plus three or four other wild elements like exploding snakes or exploding blow-up dolls for good measure.

These flashy things don’t make a his movies good, but they always seem to be filmed and produced with a certain level of skill and professionalism that adds a sense of quality to them, even if they have a jumbled story with plot twists that are beyond belief.
 
I believe this is why Andy Sidaris has such a loyal following of fans. His films aren’t masterpieces, but you will always know what you’re going to get and you’ll be entertained no matter what. Speaking of being entertained, “Hard Ticket to Hawaii” is only going to get a two bullet rating from me based on the technical stuff alone, but it gets ten bullet for shier fun!

Some last things to keep your eyes open for are movie posters from Andy’s previous films located in Donna & Taryn’s home. The informant who rats on Edy is the same cross-dressing man from “Malibu Express”, played by Michael A. Andrews. There is a manhole cover that is obviously just a painted trashcan lid. And finally, as Rowdy and the gang infiltrate the home of Romero to rescue Edy, He encounters one of Romero’s guards on the beach. He talks the guard into playing catch with a Frisbee only to replace the Frisbee with one that has razor blades imbedded in it. The blades cut off the guards fingers when he tries to catch it and then slices into his neck -- killing him.

I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!

For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!

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