Friday, September 5, 2008

Avenging Angel (Robert Vincent O'Neill, 1985)

The teenage trollop with the skimpiest skirts this side of Wilshire Blvd. is back and sexier than ever in Avenging Angel, Robert Vincent O'Neill's action-packed follow up to Angel - the first film in the wonderfully sleazy trilogy about an underage fornicatress who refuses to be pushed around. Oh, sure, Molly "Angel" Stewart may have traded in her magenta halter top for a fancy law degree since we last tuned in, but one should not underestimate the lure of the seedy streets. Opening with a terrific montage set to "Why" by Bronski Beat, this follow-up recaptures the spirit of the first chapter by presenting the neon-tinted squalor of Hollywood Blvd. in all its demoralized glory. Only this time, they've included shotgun-wielding real estate developers to the unseemly glow. Exploring the horrors of gentrification, the film is about a greedy land developer (whose son is played by the amazing Frank Doubleday, Romero from Escape from New York) who starts purchasing property on the strip. Which sounds harmless enough (buying stuff is the cornerstone of a free market society), but problems arise when he starts killing people who stand in his way. Specifically, an undercover policewoman and Lt. Andrews (Robert F. Lyons), Angel's mentor.

This premeditated act brings the former streetwalker back to her old haunts; thirsting for violent retribution. Of course, she can't do it alone, which means getting help from a punk rock, Buzzcocks t-shirt-wearing lesbian (Susan Tyrrell); a washed-up, extremely institutionalized, ex-tv cowboy (Rory Calhoun); and a glitter-covered dandy fop (an in your face Barry Pearl).

Taking over for Donna Wilkes as Angel is the insanely gorgeous Betsy Russell (Cheerleader Camp), a comforting staple in the well-worn realm of female shapeliness and germ-free lusciousness. Now, granted, she has a large pair of fuck me pumps to fill, but the second I saw Betsy laying out her regalia of finely-woven floozy fashions in preparation for the titillating task at hand, I knew she was good to go.

Anyway, whether she is unloading a pointy piece of lead into the thoracic cavity of an overconfident henchman, or running through a parking garage in high heels, Betsy brings the streetwise sexy to a satisfying simmer.

Now, most people seem to put too much of an emphasis on Betsy's breasts (who can blame them after seeing them repeatedly toy with gravity in Private School and Tomboy). But I'd like to compliment her legs, lips, and acting chops for a change.

The dark-haired beauty's underrated legs were constantly on display, thanks to a dizzying array of barely-there skirts; her lips were well-nourished and covered with a gingery smear of pink lip gloss; and her acting, well, her line readings sparkled with an intelligibleness unseen in previous efforts.
  Also trading jibes with seasoned pros like, Rory Calhoun, Susan Tyrrell and Ossie Davis can do nothing but improve ones thespian skills.

In some scenes, Besty seems to be channeling her inner Ally Sheedy.

Oh, and one of the biggest improvements over the original is the soundtrack. Whereas the first movie had only "Something Sweet" by The Allies to keep our ears interested; this flick has Blancmange's "Blind Vision," the aforementioned Bronski Beat cut, and two instrumental numbers by Split Enz. A cool upgrade, if you ask me.


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