Street Angels (1993)
Hi all, Nate here with a cruddy shot-on-video/direct-to-dumpster no-budget vigilante cop movie from my shoebox stash of scratched-up and unlabeled DVDs. I just don't know what to say about this movie. It kinda had some charm, in a lipstick-on-a-pig sorta way, but not enough to recommend it to anyone but shut-ins and prison inmates. It's bad, woefully so, but not any worse than pretty much every movie I've reviewed in the last few months.
The plot is fairly easy to follow, a honest cop named Frank wants to clean up his city by going on vacation. While on vacation, he turns vigilante and recruits three lovely ladies, the “Street Angels”, to help him murder his way through the dirty underbelly of Los Angeles, all in the pursuit of a cop-killing gang kingpin who goes by the name “the Phantom”. Much death and destruction follows, many laws are broken, feelings are hurt, and in the end Frank and his girls break up the Phantom's gang with extreme prejudice (and knives).
Frank, and some guy's coat.
With his Angels.
The Phantom exacts revenge.
I don't really feel like reviewing this movie in any depth, but I do need to talk to you about a few things. Where are all the people? This is set in downtown Los Angeles, a city of many millions of people, yet the streets are always completely empty. The only people we see are those relevant to the plot, the only girl on the sidewalk is going to be raped, the only man on a residential street is going to have his car stolen, the only guy in the industrial area just so happens to be an undercover cop about to be murdered, there is literally no one else in the entire city. The final confrontation in a parking garage is an especially egregious example of this, it's a garage full of cars but not one time during the entire 25 minute final battle there does a new car drive in or anyone ever enter the garage to drive home. And that's fine, I understand that having background extras costs money so it's cheaper just to shoot around the locals' schedules or ask them to stand out-of-frame for a few minutes while they film some guy punching some other guy, that's just how you shoot on the cheap. The problem is that anyone familiar with a major urban city (which is everyone) can't help but notice that the sidewalks are completely empty on a Wednesday afternoon and not one person in all of LA needs to go get his car to visit his mother in Pasadena. Set your movie in a rural town or film completely at night, either would solve this problem.
It's only Frank and her boobs here.
Speaking of suspension of disbelief, why is a violent serial cop-killer allowed to walk freely around LA when everyone on the police force knows exactly where he lives and his name and his associations and everything? There is no way on earth, even in the blighted early days of Clinton's first term, that such a psychopath wouldn't be arrested after the first police murder. SWAT teams love that kind of thing.
”Police HQ” is a hotel room with posters.
Also, why did people in the early 1990s dress that way? Leg warmers? Silk clubbing shirts? Chic jeans? Really? Hairspray and mousse and wicked eyeliner, lace-up workboots and acid-washed jeans and high pick combs, just so much polyester and pleather, so much nausea and pain. If our government could successfully cover up all evidence of the joint US/USSR Moon mission in 1957 then surely they could wipe out all visual proof of 1993 fashions? Wouldn't we all be better not knowing how we used to look? They would just need to tinker with the components of their weekly mind-controlling/rebellion-suppressing chemtrail flights over North America to add a aerosol-form memory-erasing chemical specifically tailored to delete and block all memories of rolled-cuff Jordache jeans and home perm-kits for men? Right? I'm going to call my congressman.
Jesuschrist woman, you need some conditioner.
Outside the movie, why didn't the mesmerizingly charismatic guy playing vigilante cop Frank (George Saunders) ever make it big? He's great! By far the best part of this movie is Frank's dry wit and snarky one-liners, plus his often amusing voice-overs, spoken in the vein of an old Dashiell Hammett PI serial, amazingly good for a ten-dollar shot-on-camcorder quickie. Saunders has the swagger and bushy brows of a b-level leading man, and the athleticism and sorta kung fu skills to be a Van Damme-type action star, one wonders why he has spent the last 20 years slumming in shitty low-budget rent-payers like this one. Must be something in his personality? Or a drug problem? Surely he's not more concerned about “his craft” than the money? Ha!
He's drunk a lot, it's his idiom.
Related to that, why didn't the vein-bulgingly intense guy playing the Phantom (Kim Strauss) do more in life either? That's got to be one of the top ten most violently crazy-yet-funny villain performances of all time, just superb amounts of cocaine-fulled rage and scenery chewing in aviator sunglasses and a ripped muscle shirt. If he could have channeled that sort of bug-eyed homicidal fury and dark humor into some supporting roles in major mainstream movies, he might have carved out a niche for himself in the lucrative business of giving Liam Neeson someone to set on fire in 2023's Taken IX: Wheelchair of Blood.
The end is near.
And finally, this movie's production company, Vista Street Entertainment, was also responsible for two of MMT's most legendary stinkers, Death Run to Istanbul and Flight to Danger. These are sins without redemption.
They shall be cleansed with fire.
Written in August 2015 by Nathan Decker.
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that's between you and the vengeful wrath of your personal god...