If I hadn't grown up with the same serial adventures as Lucas and Spielberg, would I not be qualified to enjoy their Raiders of the Lost Ark? No, because they captured the essence of what made those films fun. Having never seen so much as a Russ Meyer flick (I know), one might argue that I couldn't fully appreciate the exploitation pastiche that is Bitch Slap. I do know, however, what worth I place in the sight of busty broads brawlin', and I do know that Bitch Slap exhausts that gratuitous appeal early on in its 100 minutes.
The flick opens with a Joseph Conrad line about the wickedness of men and closes with a quote from "The Art of War," much in the same way that Zombie Strippers milked mentions of Sartre and Nietzsche for a laugh (or tried to). We're introduced to our leads -- hot-head Camero (America Olivo), cool cat Hel (Erin Cummings) and bimbo Trixie (Julia Voth) -- as they emerge from their car, all split-screens and slo-mo, showing off their physiques before we even get a look at their faces. Soon enough, though, the vivid color palate gives way to colorful language and relentless flashbacks, each of which wear out their welcome in no time flat. Regardless of how they got there, these three gals are now in the middle of the desert, looking for diamonds and/or a military weapon and encountering other foul-mouthed obstacles along the way.

The opening credits sequence is all about women wrestling with each other in films of yesteryear, while the credits themselves are sarcastic indicators of what's to come (writers Eric Gruendemann and Rick Jacobson -- Jacobson directed -- credit themselves as "poet laureauetes," for example). But while these two certainly don't skimp on the sleaze, they also don't skimp on the story, a convoluted plot that really doesn't, and shouldn't, matter in such a proud lark, evoking the post-Tarantino knock-offs that got old a decade ago. Every twist and turn leads to yet another flashback, set against gaudy computer-generated scenery and even more corny zingers, like the bastard child of Mutant Chronicles' flagrant low-budget fakery and Hell Ride's laughable throwback approach. It's like an issue of Maxim that flips its own pages, but keeps stopping to read the articles, and it's got nothing on the likes of Sin City or even Death Proof.

Bitch Slap is the type of movie where the bad guys are prone to fits of Tourette's and punching their own junk, which is just about the only way you can tell them apart from the chicks, and where the actresses' very mouths can't seem to decide which profanity to spout next. We're given every reason to think that the admittedly attractive Olivo, Cummings and Voth are in the joke, just like everyone else, but their pouting and moxie don't count for much when the joke's just not that funny after a while. Maybe for the length of a wink-wink trailer, this could've worked, but there's no real wit to relish here beneath the endless innuendo, the countless synonyms for "bitch" and "vagina," and the occasional alliteration that comes along when the two intersect.

As Gruendemann and Jacobson are "Xena" and "Hercules" alums, Lucy Lawless and Kevin Sorbo make cameos, hers more fleeting than his, while stunt-woman extraordinaire Zoe Bell briefly puts in an appearance for herself. Thank God for Bell's fight choreography behind the scenes, because a handful of third-act brawls liven matters up considerably and bring a more primal excitement to the screen, almost worthy of all those vintage girl-power romps so clearly adored at the picture's start.

I suppose that these guys and girls made exactly the movie that they were going for, budget be damned, and more power to them for seeing their utterly shameless uncompromised vision through. If the idea of a biscuit-bitin' good time is your idea of a good time, then this'll do right by you. Me? I like my girls with a bit more brains.
categories Reviews, Cinematical