Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Guns (1990)

Directed by Andy Sidaris
Starring Dona Spier, Phyllis Davis, Erik Estrada
Rated R
USA

"That's it for me. I'm hitting the shower."

Andy Sidaris (RIP), was one of the most manly filmmakers who ever lived. While others toiled with technique, form, and metaphor, Andy doled out heaping fistfuls of all the stuff that men really like: boobs, bikinis, explosions, mindless mayhem, and Erik Estrada.

Andy lived in a world where it simply did not rain, where dinner was always accompanied with a singing lingerie model revue, where secret agents wore spandex bodysuits, if anything at all, and even the biggest, baddest villains were merely beloved cop show actors, making a brief pit-stop on the way to Mexican soap opera stardom. A Sidaris film is Vegas-styled unreality at it's most excessive, and your best bet is to just give in to the twisted, coke-fueled logic of it all and wait for the next big explosion or shower scene. And they will come. They always do.


It takes a score card to keep up with Guns' snaky, self-serving plot, but here's my humble thumbnail sketch. Erik Estrada is a "European" black market weapons dealer known and the "Jack of Diamonds". Jack wants to smuggle a bunch of guns into the country from South America. Or maybe China. I'm not too clear on that, since there's always a wiggling blonde in the frame when the bad guys snarl throughout their exposition, which completely breaks up my concentration. Anyway, wherever the weapons are coming from, he wants to sneak them into the US through Hawaii. Unfortunately for him, that island is rife with busty Federal agents, so he hires a couple of bumbling saboteurs to assassinate one of them, and draw the rest to chase them around Vegas.


And even though they screw it up and pop the wrong brunette in a tube dress, the plan works, and the girls pack up their thongs and revolvers and head for Sin City. First stop? Oil wrestling!
Also early on in their Vegas adventure, there's a fight between a motorcycle and a plane!
Also, I forget which one, one of 'em has sex on a motorcycle!


Jack wants to give his failed gunmen another chance to take out arch nemesis Nicole Justin (Roberta Vasquez), so he gives them more explicit instructions. "Use the cerebral approach", he says. "Shoot her in the head." Meanwhile, Jack kidnaps head Hawaiian agent Donna Hamilton's (Speirs) district attorney mama Kathryn (Phyllis Davis, still gorgeous at 48) and takes her back to the island, ensuring both a massive bungling of the Vegas job, and his eventual undoing on Donna's home turf. After some glitzy hi-jinks in LV, including a star making turn from 70's sitcom regular Chuck McCann as a homicidal magician/secret agent and a ninja attack that end with Donna gunning them down in her underwear. Team Sidaris rushes back to Molokai with guns blazing and rockets red-glaring, and just about everybody that deserves it gets blown to bits.


While it is not as gleefully surreal as some of his earlier work or as slick as his last few films, Guns is still prime Sidaris cinema, a veritable orgy for the eyes that never lifts its foot off of the accelerator. Bikini girls with machine guns, gratuitous drag queens, gratuitous Chuck McCann, remote control toy boats that blow people to smithereens, and Erik Estrada vamping wildly as a low-rent Scarface - who could possibly ask for anything more? Watch it with your favorite aerobics instructor/secret agent, and revel in our man Andy's pneumatic, silicone-enhanced, bullet-riddled Shangri-La. They just don't make them like this, or like Andy, anymore.


- Ken McIntyre

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