Catfights, cleavage and cheesy CGI are on offer in raunchy action thriller Bitch Slap, a deliriously over-the-top homage to a bevy of 1960s exploitation movies headed by Russ Meyer’s ‘tits and guns’ classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
A trio of bad girls – played by Julia Voth, Erin Cummings and America Olivo – fetch up in the middle of the desert with a kidnapped underworld kingpin in the boot of their car. They are looking for the crook's hidden stash of diamonds, but can dizzy stripper Trixie (Voth), tough biker chick Camero (Olivo) and smart ringleader Hel (Cummings) trust each other for long enough to find the loot and get out of there?
It takes a shade over 100 minutes to find out, during which time director director Rick Jacobson and co-write/producer Eric Gruendemann deploy an exaggeratedly convoluted flashback-laden plot that slowly peels away the women’s hidden agendas. There are leering close-ups galore, unashamedly gratuitous water fights and ridiculous slang (“I’m gonna baste your giblets, butter britches,” is a typical retort).
The trouble is, Jacobson and Gruendemann don’t know when to stop. The cast are game, as are the bigger names - Michael Hurst, Kevin Sorbo, Lucy Lawless and Renée O’Connor (as a mother superior and nun) who pop up in cameos. (Appearances explained by the numerous Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess credits on the filmmakers’ CVs).
Yet Jacobson and Gruendemann appear determined to put the grind into grindhouse. And not in a good way. Everything goes on so long, including an excessively protracted catfight (choreographed by Kill Bill’s Uma Thurman stand-in, Zoë Bell) that the viewer will be crying for mercy before the characters do.
Released on 19th April.
A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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