Friday, December 4, 2015

Dangerous Men

Dangerous Men
John S. Rad

Mina (Melody Wiggins)… or perhaps Mira if the credits are to be believed, and her fiance have their lovely day at the beach interrupted by two scummy bikers. Her fiance is killed, and she instantly becomes a one woman wrecking crew, prowling the streets and taking her victims out for a nice dinner, followed by some stabbing with knife carefully concealed in her butt cheeks. Her fiance’s brother, begins to search for her after linking her to series of violent murders. Her target is men who harm women. His search leads him through the criminal biker underworld and into the lair of a man
only know as, Black Pepper (Bryan Jenkins).

"Is that a ghost or a sheet in desperate need of washing?"
The paragraph before is an attempt to the give the shaggy dog story of Dangerous Men some kind of shape. The film took director Rad several decades to assemble and it shows. Major characters drop out of the story only to be replaced by less important ones. Whole plot lines come to a screeching halt, and the entire film seems to consist of bikers groping women on a beach. It’s nothing short of a miracle that anything even remotely coherent came out of this production.

While Dangerous Men never quite reaches the giddy heights of its kindred spirit, Miami Connection (1987), it does produce a steady stream of astoundingly odd music choices, bad line readings, and poorly choreographed action. It feels like Rad is trying to created a gritty rape-revenge action film, but he can’t quite commit to the sleaze or the violence. Mina (or Mira)’s explicit instructions to get a biker into a compromising position is to tell him to, “Rub my knees and lick my bellybutton.” Hardly the successor to, I Spit on Your Grave (1978).

"Wait... we're the Dangerous Men? Really?"
Dangerous Men stops being a rape-revenge film about halfway through, and then turns into a cops vs. bikers action film, before finally spending it’s final moments as a chase movie. None of these change-ups use the same lead character. It adds to the feeling that Dangerous Men is a series of increasingly ludicrous moments only loosely linked by a plot. This film can’t complete a single moment without something out of place happening. It transforms into its own aesthetic, and there is something really joyous about that.

With Dangerous Men we are viewing American action films through someone born outside the US (John S. Rad was born in Iran). Action movies veer towards the absurd anyway, so it’s those elements that often shine the brightest. I think much like 1980 Italian efforts to replicate American action films, those absurdities are the things that get emphasized. John S. Rad was inspired and wanted to be a part of the action boom of the 1980s, it took decades to complete it, but he did shortly before his death. That is admirable. Dangerous Men might not be the movie he set out to make, but it is a hysterical and enjoyable one none the less..

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