Sunday, May 3, 2009

Blood Games

The Action Mutant…
guesses rednecks make their own gravy.

Blood Games

review by Joe Burrows

(Note: The “Perspective” will be tweaked somewhat, as it will now be a quote from one of the principles of the film. I may jump back on the soapbox without warning, though.)

“Probably because I look like a dirty drunk and a drifter. They say we play best what we are. God! I hope that's not true.”

- Charles “Buck” Flower, on being typecast.

The Plot, as it was:
Laura Albert plays the pitcher of an all female baseball team that’s managed by her pops Midnight (Ross Hagen). The team whoops on a gaggle of yokels in a game for a grand prize of $1,000 by the score of 17-2 (with the money going forward to pay off Midnight’s gambling debts). The yokels aren’t too pleased about the outcome & a series of events leave Midnight and the local bigwig’s son Roy (Gregory Scott Cummins) dead. The girls end up on the run from the townsfolk, who are offered a grand a head by the bigwig Mino Collins (Luke Shay) to kill all of the baseball babes. It’s like deer hunting season…with boobs!

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
In the “Foxy baseball playing women hunted by crazed, backwoods rednecks” genre, Blood Games is absolutely at the top of the list. In all fairness, Blood Games is one of the most entertaining of the trashy, “women seeking revenge” pics out there & definitely an overlooked one amongst such genre staples as I Spit on Your Grave and Ms. 45. There’s nothing particular that stands out about it but it has the right amount of dark humor, tits & ammo to make for a fun, drunken night of movie watching. Of course, all of this makes for a bad movie in the traditional sense. The “actresses” (many of which can only claim this as their only acting credit) aren’t on screen for their “acting”…lets just say you can’t put your finger on them…err, it. That doesn’t work, either. Anyway, the male side compensates by overacting at every turn but they do have veteran character actors like Hagen & Charles “Buck” Flower (under the pseudonym “Ernest Wall” & playing what he plays best: a goofy, drunk bumpkin) to make things interesting. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Don Dowe as crazed drunk Holt, who gets extra points for wearing a Roddy Piper “Hot Rod!” shirt during the ballgame! Director Tanya Rosenberg gets credit for making the most of a small budget by touching the action with frequent slow motion shots & a fair buildup of the action. Despite these occurrences of competency, Blood Games isn’t meant to be taken seriously at any moment during its run time. The sequencing goes something like this: hillbillies kill one of the gals (or attempt to rape, which may be the only thing that may get to some people), gals mourn their pal, gals plan elaborate ruse & kill hillbilly. Later, rinse & repeat, says the Grindhouse bible (which someone should get to writing…). In fact, the only thing missing from making Blood Games perfect GH fare are the pops, hisses & cig burns that became en vogue with the release of the Rodriguez/Tarantino collaboration. All in all, it’s worth a solid triple (yeah, a baseball cliché…I’m fired, aren’t I?).

Body Count/Violence: 16. Have a hillbilly hunt with his bare hands and he’ll last a day…give a hillbilly a shotgun to hunt with and he’ll be in the movies for life! The main death is by said implement & leads to the most blood splatter in the film. People are also run down by buses, shot by arrows, beaten down with baseball bats, hit with big rocks, hanged from trees & impaled. Twas needing a bear trap, though.

Sexuality/Nudity: No exaggeration here…EVERY woman on the baseball team gets naked. The obligatory “locker room” scene has the ladies in several forms of undress & everything is shown in one form or another. A few rape scenes lead to more T&A, which are staples in this sub-genre. The woman also sport the usual tight, clingy early 90s fare that we all know & (not really now) love. Oh, and one of the babes looked like a blond Patricia Tallman. If only…

Language/Dialogue: Ranges from mild to strong but it’s not the thing to look for.

How bad was it?:
The only legit review I read for this little seen fare was from Joe Bob Briggs & needless to say, he says you should check this out. The fan feedback seems to recognize the type of flick this is & don’t try to needlessly compare it to anything Oscar-worthy.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Known by the superior alternate title Baseball Bimbos in Hillbilly Hell in Australia, Blood Games was partially filmed in the Sequoia National Forest in California. It was produced by Epic Video & released through RCA/Columbia Home Video on 12/12/90. The VHS (sorry…no DVD yet) can be found on Amazon for as low as $4.98. That’s folding money, baby!

Film: *1/2/*****
Entertainment value: ****/*****

Copyright 2009 The Action Mutant.