Friday, 25 May 2018

Savage Beach (4½ Stars)

This is the fourth film in the Andy Sidaris collection, made in 1989. As far as I know Andy never used the poster that he's holding up in the picture. That's a shame. I find it visually more attractive than the poster he finally picked.

What do you think? Maybe Andy just wanted to pack Hope Marie Carlton into the poster as well. They're both good posters, but I prefer the minimalism of the rejected poster, with its mix of black, white and red instead of a full colour palette.

In his introduction Andy calls "Savage Beach" an unusual film for him, but he doesn't explain why. To me it seems like a typical Andy Sidaris spy thriller. The only change from the previous films is that the women have more action than the men, but that's part of a general drift in his films.

The central characters are once more Donna and Taryn, played by Dona Speir and Hope Marie Carlton. As part of their undercover job as pilots for Molokai Cargo they deliver urgently needed medicine to one of the Marshall Islands. On the way back their plane is struck by lightning and they're forced to crash land on a small uninhabited island. As they soon find out, for an uninhabited island it's very busy.

In 1943 the Japanese stole ten gold bars from the Philippines. It was hidden on this island to be retrieved after the war. Japan lost the war, and the location of the island was forgotten. Ever since then the Philippine government has been trying to find it. Information given by a former Japanese sailor on his death bed has finally helped to locate the island. A representative of the Philippine government called Martinez will travel to the island with two American marines to retrieve the gold.

Martinez is played by Rodrigo Obregon, the actor who manages to get himself killed in every Andy Sidaris film. "Wait", I can hear my readers saying. "Isn't he usually a bad guy?" I'm glad you asked. True to character, he's a traitor. He intends to give the gold bars to a Communist revolutionary group after killing the American marines. That's not so easy. When huge amounts of gold are concerned, nobody can be trusted. There are different groups on the island who turn against one another in their greed. Adding to the confusion, there's a lone Japanese soldier on the island who has been guarding the gold for the last 45 years.

After Cody, Rowdy and Travis there's yet another Abilene in this film: Shane Abilene. It must be a big family. He doesn't take part in the action. He just sits in Hawaii coordinating the missions of the female agents. As they say, a man's place is in the home.

There's one thing you have to say in Donna and Taryn's favour. Even after crash landing in the middle of the Pacific they manage to look good.

And they make it back to Hawaii to drink champagne to celebrate another completed mission. This time they meet at Rocky's club on the beach. I wonder what happened to the yacht. Maybe Travis Abilene sailed away in it after quitting the Agency.

The mysterious Agency isn't mentioned in this film. In the opening scenes Donna claims to be a Drug Enforcement agent. This was already hinted at in previous films, but it's contradicted in the later films. Bruce Penhall, in the blue shirt, is a CIA agent that the girls meet on the island. In "Picasso Trigger" he played a thug called Hondo, but now he's a good guy. It gets confusing keeping track of the rotating actors who get killed in one film and return as someone else in the next, but for the next few films he retains his role as the Agency's CIA liaison.

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