BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Cellblock D. That’s where the best women are. According to Mankillers (aka 12 Wild Women), an ultra low budget film from director David Prior and American International Pictures, when it comes to assembling a team of ruthless killers to take down a drug-dealing human trafficker your first stop for recruitment better be in a women’s prison. And, of course, not a single one of them is unattractive. It apparently helps to look good when you are kicking ass. Well, yeah, of course it does.
Prior’s film opens with a dirty deal breaking down between drug runner and a human trafficker, main villain John Mickland (William Zipp, Deadly Prey). He’s one helluva grumpy dude and we immediately respond with a boo-hiss attitude when he steps from the truck, wearing all black. The melodrama is already in full force. Get the beer ready! This is 6-pack material and it’s time to do some 12oz curls.
With little patience for slow-moving people, Mickland and his soldiers wind up killing all the drug runners (but really the FBI) AND one of his female captives before driving off into the sunset with both the drugs and the slaves. He’s a former CIA operative gone rogue and a constant thorn in the side of the CIA. Later in the movie, his bad attitude causes him to torture another man with a chainsaw. Not very effective, really, but his bloodthirsty attitude is also his only acting note so Zipp is forgiven.
Written by Prior, Mankillers is pure 1980s cheese. It knows its way around bombs, blondes, and brainless fun. For a long time (maybe too long), the film has only been available on VHS and on bootleg DVD-Rs. Olive Films, partnering with Savage Video for this blu-ray release, makes sure it sees the light of day once again. There’s been no attempt at cleaning up the print and the astounding number of VHS glitches is part of the retro-charm in this release. Seriously. I sort of miss them and this hiccup-laden transfer – blurry and faded but in 1080p – is a good representation of the whole VHS revolution for the curious out there.
Armed with its own mission to please on a late Friday night, the bad acting throughout Mankillers barely pauses long enough for the film’s cheaply produced electronic soundtrack – featuring a fist-pumping Steve McClintock song called "Freedom" and the hilariously obvious "Stand Tuff" by Jimmy Hammer – to anthem up the call of duty. Is this jazzercise? Well, turn it up! With obvious choruses and big, big hair, Mankillers does its best to get you excited for its girls-with-guns action. You’ll be jogging right alongside these gals, for sure.
The explosions, as the team eventually gets sent deep in the heart of “the jungle” (which looks exactly like where they trained), are as weak as the acting but when one bad guy - after calling one of the captives a whore – steals a kiss then shoots the same girl for being “dirty”, you just have to go with its lack of logic. Thankfully, the film – while only 86 minutes – makes no apologies. Mankillers is hysterical.
On one hand, you have William Zipp (Deadly Prey) as the baddie. On the other, you have Lynda Aldon (Dr. Detroit) as the ass-kicking leader of these short shorts-wearing gals. She’s the one in charge of whipping them into shape for their deadly mission, and, with several montages of the women doing jumping jacks and barrel runs, the movie hilarious objectifies its cast. Nipples everywhere!
Think of it, a full pardon for a probably one-way mission. What’s to lose? And, with the bonus promise to also get in shape while kicking a dude’s ass, it’s an offer no prisoner can refuse. Thankfully, we’ve also got enough “straighten up or I’m going to kick the shit out of you” lines to keep us laughing as Zipp and Aldon, playing former partners, get their chance to settle the score.
You might have to watch the movie twice in order to truly feel its effect. But, when you get it, you’ll be singing “freeeeeeedom” right alongside the girls. Eat your heart out Miami Vice. The REAL deal is with Mankillers.
MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime: 88 mins
Director: David A. Prior
Writer: David A. Prior
Cast: Edd Byrnes, Gail Fisher, Edy Williams
Tagline: No man can stop them.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Anybody who thinks differently is going to answer to me."
Distributor: Olive Films
Release Date: No theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: September 13, 2016
Synopsis: A female CIA agent is assigned to train and lead an all-female squad to Colombia to stop a renegade agent who has hired himself out to a drug cartel.
Available on Blu-ray - September 13, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Discs: Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A
Olive Films releases Mankillers with a very fuzzy and very problematic 1080p transfer. More than likely, this has been straight ported over from a still-existing VHS copy. While there is some detail in the close-up shots, much of the picture is a sea of fuzzy melodrama. From the lack of details in the sets and all the outdoor locations, I’m guessing this cost MAYBE $500 to shoot. I mean even the rocket launcher kill is weak. Colors are slight and the mono soundtrack doesn’t help matters either.
Are you kidding? No one wants to talk about Mankillers.
While the artwork on the cover suggests there might be some supplemental gems tucked inside, there is only a photo gallery. Enjoy.
- Photo Gallery