Wonder Women (1973)

Hi all, Nate here, been a while, I know. Digging through some folders I found this barely-started review and thought I'd finish it because why not. I've reviewed a ton of schlocky action films from the Philippines over the years, and to a one they are all hilariously terrible, so it shouldn't be a surprise that this movie is just the worst. Well, mostly just generically bad, the most unforgivable of all sins, nothing new or different that we haven't seen a hundred times before. Don't fret, this will be a quick one.

What do all 1970's Filipino b-movies have in common, you ask? Well, first off you need to show a lot of "local flavor", from the overcrowded slums of Manila to the disease-riddled jungles to the bad teeth of random citizens. Did I mention that Manila was a hellhole?

God, and I thought the 310 was bad this morning.

Do you need a screenplay plot in the traditional sense? Meh, not really, but it helps. Here our "plot" is that an Evil Lady Doctor is kidnapping world-class athletes and transplanting old rich dying guys' brains into their young, healthy, big-dicked bodies. Any of that explained in any sort of logical scientific terms? Really? You clearly have never watched much Filipino trashcinema.

She's Asian, so she must be smart, duh.

Body-swapping sounds kind of illegal (as well as immoral) so of course the Evil Lady Doctor has a secret lab set up on an isolated island in the Philippines to avoid prying eyes. And of course her compound is guarded by a bevy of scantily-clad young Filipino machinegungirls in miniskirts and push-up bras. But they're just in the background, non-speaking roles with little pay and less respect, just pretty muscle and bullet sponges (I'm guessing they didn't even get to keep their costumes).

Bang, no SAG credits for you.

The local girls can't be the main stars, because who wants to see that? No, those main, headlining roles have to be filled by some work-visa expat white Americans. How else are you going to get any US market distribution rights? The Evil Lady Doctor's inner circle of trusted lieutenants is, of course, made up of actractive American girls. Since this is the liberated, swingin' 70s, there are some sassy black girls in there with the Barbie Doll white girls, plus even a token Japanese chick! All of them are sexy masters of kung-fu and pistol-fu and hairspray-fu and polyster-fu

1973, baby!

This cash-only bodies/brains scheme is working out swimmingly until they kidnap a certain jai lai world champ (is that a thing?) and his insurance company hires a private eye to track him down. Enter Mike, played by some floppy-haired, broad-shouldered, hunky American bit-part actor, drinking through his salary and cursing his agent between takes.

Yeah, I wish I could exit this movie.

Mike has few redeeming personality traits, he's just here for the reward money and is ok with murdering anyone in his way. To help in that he managed to get through Customs a cool sawed-off shotgun to use as his signature weapon. Unlike in most other shitty Grade F action movies where the hero's gun has a bottomless magazine, we see him actually have to crack it open and reload the shells by hand after every salvo. This might be the single most impressive thing about this movie. Sigh. When Mike's not shooting off his gun, he's shooting off his dick at every woman he meets. Unsprisingly, to Mike, women are just nameless sexual playthings perpetually in skimpy bikinis, but, hey, 1973.

Ugh, he surely has crabs.

Mike sleuths his way to the truth through his hairy fists and Western arrogance, astonishingly making fast friends and kinky lovers along the way, despite (or because of?) his dickish ways. He has no respect or understanding of the Philippines' rich and complicated cultural landscape, but he's never wanting for companionship since landing in Manila. Sure the Filipino cabbie is probably just tagging along for those sweet, sweet American dollars, and that adoring hotchick is actually a ninja spy for the Evil Lady Doctor, but still, Mike's getting a lot more friend requests on Facebook than he has any right to.

I don't want to be your friend.

Becasue this is a Jame Bond rip-off, Mike is captured by the Evi Lady Doctor's minions and we have a long (long) scene where she wades deep into a Bond Villian Monologue. She explains to him (the guy she's presumably going to murder soon anyway) how her research has led her to full-brain transplants and suspended-animation comas, and also to building a “brain sex machine”. That last Sharper Image invention allows two hooked-up people to experience “mental sex” together without the need for condoms or Astroglide or touching or even being in the same room. And afterwards you don't have to make awkward small talk with her before shuffling off to work still a little sticky.

Sure, yeah, ok.

But, of course, the Evil Lady Doctor has been doing crimes against humanity and so Mike must bring her to justice. Or, really, he's just here to rescue the kidnapped jai lai player so he can get his reward money, it sure doesn't seem like he gives two fucks about what the Evil Lady Doctor is up to in the end. The destruction of her compound and the ruination of her business is just secondary to Mike's plans, which are primarly to get some money, head back to Los Angeles, buy a Camaro and some glow-in-the-dark chest hair gel and hang out at the disco Saturday nights looking for love. I get that he's an “anti-hero”, but we'd like it if he had at least one scene where he looks pained and waxes philosophical at how repulsive the Evil Lady Doctor's schemes are and how much he's a “changed man” now and will machinegun everyone in the Name of Justice. Nope, just a mercenary to the end.

Just show him the cash.

The last quarter of the movie is a yawningly boring action set-piece where everyone shoots everyone else in the face. In the end Mike gets his money and his vaguelly open-ended closing scene to set up a sequel(s) and the rest of us get to go back to playing video games all day, chuckling slightly to ourselves about why jai lai never caught on in America and why Manila had (still has?) so few traffic lights on major intersections. Some mysteries will never be sloved.

Like, why won't he trim those eyebrows?

And lastly we have to talk about nipples. Specifically girl nipples. You'd expect a movie like this to be just chock full of floppy nips, right? And the movie's very first scene delivers with three sets of perky chick boobies in glorious close-up. But then...nothing. Despite a movie with a cast made up of almost all young hot girls, we never see a single (or a pair) of exposed breasts again. Clearly those first-scene nipples were deiberatly placed there just so they could entice some distribution company into buying their (supposedly) sleazy exploitation movie. They were surely banking on the buyer not bothering to watch more than the first 10 minutes, and it seems to have worked.

Blue-tinted underwater boobies, at that.

The End.

Written in October 2017 by Nathan Decker.

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