Review

Review

Review: 'Bitch Slap'

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You just don't see all that many low-budget indie action flicks like Bitch Slap. (Why? Because action flicks are expensive and considerably more difficult to shoot and cut than, say, your typical romantic drama.) Oh you may come across one or two festival titles that offer an enthusiastic gunfight here and there -- but for hardcore, non-stop, for better or for worse "action" action, we usually have to look to the big studios with the deep pockets.

Or you could set your cable box to remind you when Rick Jacobson's Bitch Slap hits the airwaves because, aside from a few glaring (and occasionally grating) missteps, this is a low-budget indie action movie with more energy than sense, more mayhem than brains, and more heaving cleavage to fill a Victoria's Secret catalog. Seemingly inspired by the corniest of Corman's crook capers and the jiggliest of Russ Meyer's melon-filled masterworks, Bitch Slap is empty-headed, mindless, and frequently puerile -- but it's also got a few more assets than just three (fantastic) sets of knockers.

Our three heroines are Hel (Erin Cummings), Trixie (Julia Voth), and Camero (America Olivo), and we join them in a rather Tarantinoian situation: They've arrived at a desert hideout intent on finding something (or someone), and then we're treated to our first flashback sequence. Sort of like Reservoir Dogs in reverse, we slowly piece together the fragments of a big heist ... and then we jump back to the present and two of the three gals are busy kicking the snot out of a broadly Asian cliche or a sleazy hayseed with Tourette's. (Don't ask.) Oh, and did I mention that Hel, Trixie, and Camero are all hardcore lesbians? Yup, mega-sexy, outrageously vulgar, unstoppably violent ... and lesbians.

If it sounds like Bitch Slap was put together by a bunch of horny 14-year-olds ... well I guess it fits because that's what the movie looks like, too. The whole affair is clearly played very broadly and with sexy tongues planted firmly into shapely cheeks, but that doesn't really make Bitch Slap a comedy. It has a playful tone, aside from a ceaseless torrent of grotesque profanity, courtesy of Ms. Olivo, but there aren't any laugh out loud moments. Jacobson samples from the old-school exploitation platter like nobody's business, and some of it is quite amusing, but to what end? While some of Bitch Slap is quick, slick, or (honestly) sick -- none of it is really all that funny.

To say the acting is sub-par would be a bit too easy. Let's just say that 2/3rds of the sapphic squad acquit themselves reasonably well ... while the third gal sticks out like a sore thumb, growling and squealing and quivering her way through the entire film. I feel cruel mentioning which of the three I mean ... but you'll know as soon as you see the flick. Also slightly annoying is the movie's overuse of plainly fake bluescreen backgrounds. Yes, it's clearly meant to look hyper-real, comic-booky, campy ... call it what you like, but my eyes can only take so much of it.

But despite these (and other) glitches, there's a grungy vigor to Bitch Slap at its very best moments. To say the flick picks up in Act III would be an understatement, but there's also just enough carnage, cans, and plain old weirdness to keep the wheels spinning throughout. (Every time I started to get bored with the flick, it threw something new and weirder into the mix. In B-grade jiggle-action homages, that kind of stuff can go a long way.) Provided you have a soft spot for old-style 'babes 'n' bullets' b-movie mayhem, you'll find some fun here. It's got the jiggle of the '60s, the violence of the '70s, the brain of the '80s, and the wardrobe of the '90s. But be warned: This is not a movie to watch in the company of your kids, your parents, or (especially) your brain.

 (Hell, you could watch it on "mute" and the three lead gals would still hypnotize you to the point of drooling.)

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