July 24, 2018

STREETS OF VENGEANCE: A Form of Flattery

https://olivefilms.com/
Starring Delawna McKinney, Paige Leney, Cassidy St. Hubbins, Flora E. Moon, Amanda Cox, Victoria Dementieva, Anthony Iava To'omata, Bryan Burd, Daniel James Moody, Ginger Lynn Allen. Directed by Paul Ragsdale & Angelica De Alba. (2017/101 min). 

AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY FROM 
OLIVE FILMS

Review by Tiger the TerriblešŸ˜¾

I remember when Eddie Van Halen came along. His guitar playing was so fast, his style so unique, that metal fans worldwide were blown away. He inspired countless others to pick up an axe, and most simply tried to emulate what he already accomplished. I knew a guy named Steve who worshiped Eddie, going as far as painting his own guitar with the same design as his idol's and literally spending months learning to play "Eruption" note-for-note. Yeah, great, Steve. You went to all that work to sound exactly like another guitar player. So what?

Imitation may-indeed be the sincerest form of flattery, but that doesn't always mean it's worth the effort.

Streets of Vengeance begins promisingly tongue-in-cheek, presenting the film as though it's airing on a local late-night TV program hosted by a bubbly, bikini-clad bimbo. Right away, we get what the filmmakers are going for. From an aesthetic standpoint, the film looks and sounds exactly like the type of titillating, low budget erotic thrillers that cash-strapped Brian DePalma wannabes used to crank out in the 80s. Unfortunately, it unfolds exactly like one, too.

Exploitation fans of a certain age might recall that these films often featured revenge-minded stories, low-rent action, seedy violence, lots of skin and casts hired more for how they look in stilletos than any thespian skills, all set to a shrill synthesizer soundtrack. In Streets of Vengeance, Mila (Delawna McKinney) is a retired porn star who's targeted by a zealous cult of emasculated morons. After turning the tables on one of her attackers, Mila assembles her own crew of voluptuous vigilantes to kill them all.

Guess who drank the most coffee between takes.
Co-directors Paul Ragsdale & Angelica De Alba certainly deserve some credit for checking all the boxes, but there's a significant difference between homage and simple imitation. Without throwing in some cheeky self-awareness or satiric elements, there really isn't any point in simply recreating a genre from a bygone era. In fact, once the novelty wears off - roughly after ten minutes - Streets of Vengeance is just as dull, dumb and exploitative as those old films.

Several porn stars show up in cameos as murder victims, apparently because they're the only ones willing to bare it all. The camera lovingly leers on their visual assets until it's time to die. The one exception is Ginger Lynn Allen, who shows up for a couple of scenes, keeps her clothes on and ironically turns in the best performance. Despite some claims - including a few from the producers - Streets of Vengeance is not an "empowering" film. Tossing-in a few fleeting, heavy-handed stabs at social commentary doesn't negate the fact that the movie objectifies its female protagonists every bit as much as the 80's relics it emulates.

Ultimately, Streets of Vengeance plays like a painstakingly-created piece of fan fiction and is just as superfluous. The time and effort it takes may be admirable, but in the end...so what? Unless Steve somehow landed a gig in a Van Halen tribute band, all that hard work didn't get him anywhere, either.

EXTRA KIBBLES
FEATURETTES - "Making of Street of Vengeance"; "Camerawork with Cinematographer Dan Zampa"
CAST INTERVIEWS
AUDIO COMMENTARY
OUTTAKES & BLOOPERS
PRODUCTION STILLS & PROMO ART GALLERY
2 MUSIC VIDEOS
SOUNDTRACK PROMO
2 STREETS OF VENGEANCE TRAILERS
"SLASHLORETTE PARTY" TRAILER - Fake trailer
"TOUGH GUYS" TRAILER - Not sure if this one is real or not. Plays like a parody.
KITTY CONSENSUS:
MEH...

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