Monday, April 11, 2011

Mayhem (1986)

A direct-to-video crime saga that suffers from being fairly competently made: if there had been an incompetent writer, director, or actor involved, it could have become a minor cult classic. As it is, the film is a bit amateurish and very low budget- everything shot on video looks low budget anyway- and good for some sleazy thrills, but nothing terribly memorable.

Dino (Raymond Martino) and Ziggy (Robert Gallo) are two hitmen in Los Angeles, both with lady problems. Dino’s girlfriend Rachel (Wendy MacDonald) left him for another man and he’s still obsessed with her; Ziggy’s girlfriend Misty (Pamela Dixon) and one-woman escort service has been taken hostage by kidnapping pimps. In order to straighten all of this out, they’re going to have to shoot a lot of people. There’s also a lot of detective work, via montage, in which they scour the city, instead of just looking in the building into which she was dragged. Luckily, lots of people get shot up real good, and the squib effects are pretty effective. There’s also some decent nudity, ridiculously slimy hoodlums, and an incredibly sleazy scene in which an evildoer who’s been running a pre-school pedophile ring is shot in the vagina with a shotgun!

Both Gallo and Martino are decent actors for this sort of thing and the dialogue is always on this side of silly, aside from a reoccurring subplot in which one hitman wants to move to Alaska (movie hitmen and strippers always want to be doing something else with their lives). There is the common problem with very low budget films in which the camera doesn’t move or even cut between shots as often as it could. There are also some story problems. The character of Dino is supposed to be a jealous, macho and haunted male, akin to Jake LaMotta; but instead comes off as an insufferable misogynist and constant whiner, so we’re sort of rooting for him to get killed off. There’s also a third-act twist for him that pushes past credible, and a twist-ending that makes even less sense. Really, it’s just hard to watch two characters when one is boring and the other is insufferable. The two female characters are sort of non-entities. Finally, it’s still unclear why there was so much detective work involved in finding a girl who was dragged into a building in front of our hero’s eyes.

But, let’s be honest: given that the thing was probably made for three dollars and some change, there are so many other things that could have easily gone wrong.

1 comment:

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