Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Danger Zone (1987)

The Action Mutant…
is not sure if he needs a "wingman" for this one.

The Danger Zone (1987)

review by Joe Burrows

The Plot, as it was:
A sextet of big haired singers known as The Skirts (one played by Suzanne Tara of TAM cult favorite Deadly Prey) get an invitation to head out to Las Vegas and be a part of a TV talent competition. Along the way, their car breaks down in the desert and they stumble onto a dusty ghost town. The former prospecting site has already been claimed by a biker gang led by the demented Reaper (Robert Canada) and the ladies are infringing on their daily lives, including interrupting whippings handed out for insolence & drug deals executed via model plane (!). The Skirts must rely on themselves, and old prospector named Moss (Michael Wayne) and undercover cop Wade Olson (Jason Williams) to get out of...THE DANGER ZONE!, this mess. The Danger Zone is said mess.

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
From the "I swear this was an A.I.P. release" file comes The Danger Zone, a trash opus in the fine tradition of "biker" cinema. It's fine for a rainy day afternoon (when I first caught it) though you might need some of the mind altering substances the bikers are on to truly enjoy it. Its all meant to be campy fun, with the women having hair teased to the nines & very few ideas and the bikers being slimy beyond reproach. From the gang guiding the ladies through a rattlesnake filled pit to threatening them with all kinds of abuse, this has all the trappings of its low budget genre roots. However, there are more than a few lulls in what little story there is and the budgetary woes stifle it from taking full advantage. The acting is only slightly better, with Canada getting every little bit of juice out of the role of Reaper. Coming off like Lance Henriksen's understudy in Stone Cold, Canada spits & snarls out his lines and seems to relish being the heavy. He's really the only engaging character here as none of the ladies really stand out from the pack and the lot of the bikers are all stereotypical dregs. Unfortunately, TDZ is too boring to sustain for the most part and has far too few intermittent shows of trashy fun to keep one awake to the end.

Body Count/Violence: 6. Aside from a few brawls and someone being lit on fire (in a sleeping, that's inconsiderate!), not a lot goes on action wise until the last twenty minutes or so. We get the requisite (bloodless) shootout as well as motorcycle rundown and a snake attack! One of the gals sprays hairspray at a snake. Man, snakes get a lot of play in this one.

Sexuality/Nudity: There's a scene where the gals come upon a stream, which allows them to strip to their underwear and frolic about. This is all shot in glorious slow-mo, which means the director should get a Nobel Prize for being the smartest person alive or something. One of the biker girls flashes her tits and one of the heroines has her shirt ripped open. Seriously though, that stream scene will make some 13 year old boy's day.

Language/Dialogue: A few F words and other surly biker talk (is biker talk anything other than "surly").

How bad was it?:
Not many reviews are out there about The Danger Zone but what little fan feedback there is on IMDB is mixed at best. You either accept it as exploitive fun or not.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Filmed in and around Las Vegas, The Danger Zone was released straight to VHS by Charter Entertainment on 10/26/88. Obviously, the low production values helped as three sequels were made afterwards with Williams reprising his role and the epically named Robert Random taking the reigns of Reaper.

Film: **/*****
Entertainment value: ***/*****

Copyright 2012 The Action Mutant.

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