Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Angel Series

Angel (1984)  * *

Cast: Donna Wilkes, Rory Calhoun, Susan Tyrell, Dick Shawn, John Diehl, Cliff Gorman

Directed by Robert Vincent O’Neill

Honor student by day, street walker by night was the premise, for this popular exploitation piece about Molly Stewart (Wilkes) AKA who becomes the target of a serial killer(Diehl) when her two worlds collide. Angel has some interesting elements and some decent acting from the cast, indeed the characters almost succeed in saving the movie, but the biggest flaw is that the film isn’t nearly as exploitative or affecting as it promises. Indeed the movie is preposterous as well, as the street life is highly unrealistic, as is the fact that Wilkes looks at least 10 years too old for the part. Still despite all its flaws, the film has its moments, the serial killer subplot works fairly well as does character actor Diehl in the role, but overall the film never gets the tone down right. Is it a comedy? , A thriller?, Exploitation?, A serious drama? Whatever the case, Angel can’t seem to find the right element or tone and in doing so, the film is bi-polar in many ways.

Avenging Angel (1985)  1/2*

Cast: Betsy Russell, Rory Calhoun, Susan Tyrell, Richard F. Lyons Ossie Davis

Directed by Robert Vincent O’Neill

This inevitable sequel finds ex-street walker Angel (Russell standing in for Donna Wilkes) and now law student back on the streets looking to avenge the murder of her mentor Lt Andrews (Lyons replacing Gorman) who took her off the streets and put her through college, so with the help of Kit Carson the street cowboy, Angel and her band of street friends battle the mobsters responsible. Avenging Angel doesn’t work on any of the levels that Angel 1 did, indeed the movie is meant as more comedy and the would-be comic relief is excruciating and obnoxious. The action element is non-existent as a lot of the action is played for laughs, nobody is taking this movie seriously and the film’s attempt at humor is just painful to watch, indeed the revenge angle is an afterthought, and the film lacks any form. Ergo Avenging Angel looks like it was pieced together by outtakes from the original. Even if you liked the original, Avenging Angel is pushing it. It’s even tamer than the first, and everything about this film is embarrassingly incompetent.

Angel III: The Final Chapter (1988) * *

Cast: Mitzi Kapture, Maud Adams, Mark Blankfield, Richard Roundtree

Angel III is better than Avenging Angel and sadly that is the only positive aspect of the film that I can name. Actually Angel III doesn’t have many positive or negative aspects, it’s so hollow, empty and uninspired that it doesn’t play on screen it just exists. The sequel finds Mitzi Kapture as Molly Stewart (AKA Angel) a Journalist (must’ve switched majors from being a lawyer) who comes in contact with the mother that left her to hook her way through high school, of course such mother and child reunion doesn’t last long as said mother is blown up in her car, but not before Angel finds out that she has a sister that is in the underworld prostitution ring and so now Angel hits the streets to save her sister in a blah sequel to an already pretty lame series of movies. The production values are decent, the acting is better, Mitzi Kapture is easily the best actress to fill in the role and Angel III is overall competent all around but it’s just that that’s all it is. The film isn’t as good as the first one because that one was more ambitious and it’s somewhat strange that what this sequel lacks is a sense of humor, indeed the film is also half assed on all accounts as Angel’s mission is just so ludicrous, she doesn’t really go undercover, hell she doesn’t even really do anything to save the day, she’s just kind of there snapping photos and relying on her boyfriend to save her from the bad guys. Really this movie is hard for me to review, cause it’s one of those movies you don’t care enough about to really hate. I guess if you really like this series you might enjoy this but I don’t know, I didn’t care for it, in fact I didn’t care about it at all. In other words Angel III is an exercise of complete indifference.

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