THE ANDY SIDARIS COLLECTION
Review by Michael Jacobson
Dona Spier, Hope Marie Carlton, Roberta Vasquez, Julie Strain, Sybil
Danning, Erik Estrada, Ron Moss, Darby Hinton
Director: Andy Sidaris (Enemy Gold: Drew Sidaris)
Audio: Dolby Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: Malibu Bay Films
Features: See Review
Release Date: July 22, 2003
understand you're a private investigator."
we were wondering if you'd investigate our privates."
***1/2 (on the cult scale)
don't believe in reincarnation myself...but if I did, I'd want to come back
as the male lead in an Andy Sidaris film. If
you have to ask why, then you should really check out the new volume one DVD box
set of The Andy Sidaris Collection. And keep your AC cranked nice and low.
I didn't always know his name, I knew his style, and so did many of my
friends, who all reacted with wide eyes and grins when I told them about the
release of the collection. Many of
them were kind and thoughtful enough to volunteer to review it for me.
Thanks, guys...what would I do without you?
sometimes, as a website publisher, you just have to roll up your...er, sleeves,
and do the hard work for yourself. So
I committed myself to a thorough exploration of the six movies in this set,
studying each one carefully for style, content, and cinematic value.
There were also commentary tracks for each one, meaning I had little
choice but to view each title two times through.
But hey, I'm willing to put myself to the grindstone for the sake of my
Sidaris is, too. He actually went
from an Emmy award winning director for ABC Sports, where he brought the
illustrious Olympic Games into our living rooms, to the auteur of some of the
finest, sexiest, lowbrow high spirited action adventure hijinks ever committed
to celluloid. In fact, as far as
I'm concerned, there's Andy Sidaris and Russ Meyer, and then there are all
movies were the ones I wasn't allowed to watch on late night pay cable as a
young teen. So naturally, I tuned
in every chance I got. I still
remember chatting up Malibu Express with my friends at school.
We laughed at the tongue-in-cheek humor, grinned at the amusingly
implausible scenarios, and sat agape at the seemingly never ending parade of
beautiful women who...how shall I put this?...were far from camera shy.
And I use the word 'implausible' simply because I've never known
the man who ever had two luscious playmates stroll into his bedroom and
proposition him. If I ever found
him, I'd figure out some way to become his best friend.
these films encompass a full spectrum of gleeful entertainment value.
There are the lovely ladies, sure, but there's also action, adventure,
exotic locations, double entendres, explosions, sex, violence, and humor.
All of it under Sidaris' appropriate banner of "bullets, bombs and
babes". Not necessarily in that
order, I should add.
One of The Andy Sidaris Collection showcases his Malibu Bay Films
company's early years, starting with the aforementioned movie that started it
all, Malibu Express. Over
the years, Andy Sidaris as writer and director and his lovely wife Arlene
Sidaris as producer have kept the spirit of pleasure alive and well on the
silver screen and on home video. These
movies say it all:
The film that started it all for me also started Malibu Bay Films for Andy Sidaris, and I'm happy to say, the picture has lost none of its charm over the years. The tickling mystery adventure features private eye Cody Abilene (Darby Hinton), a man on target with the ladies but who misses the mark with his huge phallic gun. When hired by a mysterious Contessa (the incredible Sybil Danning) to investigate the goings-on in the home of one Lady Chamberlain, the trail leads to love and danger. Only this time the butler didn't do it...he's the first to go.
hero Cody uses his smooth tongue to work himself out of harm's way and into
the arms of the women who throw themselves at him the entire movie.
Who could ever forget the race car/helicopter chase where Cody tries to
keep his eyes on the road and not on the titillating June Khnockers (and no, I
didn't make that name up)? Favorite
line: "Honey, I'M the fastest thing on this lot!"
The Malibu Express sails again, but this time, under the command of Rowdy Abilene (Ron Moss of The Bold and the Beautiful fame). Alongside two beautiful undercover girls, the government agent Donna (Dona Spier) and the civilian Taryn (Hope Marie Carlton), he takes to the gorgeous beaches of Molokai in Hawaii to interrupt a lethal smuggling ring that left two fellow agents dead.
is probably the most fun film in the collection.
Dig that giant toxic snake! Favorite
line: "If brains were birds**t,
you'd have a clean cage!"
Donna and Taryn are back on the case...this time, with Travis Abilene (Steve Bond of General Hospital) in a globetrotting adventure that takes them from Paris to Vegas to Malibu and back to Hawaii as they investigate the death of an international assassin and how it relates to the massacre of many of his enemies around the world.
highlight, apart from the ladies themselves, is a terrific high speed motorcycle
chase. And this time, the girls get
to play with some dangerous toys...and man, those Abilene boys STILL don't
know how to shoot! Favorite line: "Speaking of golf, wanna putter around?"
Donna and Taryn team up once again, and this time, there's gold in them thar hills. When a vicious storm forces the ladies to make an emergency landing on an uncharted Pacific island, a mission of mercy turns into an international race for some hidden gold from World War II. The United States and Japan are in on the deal, but a traitor amongst them means our heroines are up to their pretty little necks in trouble.
most unusual touch is an aged samurai-of-sorts who looks like his face was
dipped in latex and sun dried! Though
Hard Ticket to Hawaii gets my vote for most fun, this is probably the
best overall film in this set. Favorite
line: "Don't EVER call me a
L.E.T.H.A.L. versus CHIPS? Not exactly, but it's a good tag line when the luscious Donna and her ladies go up against Erik Estrada as Degas, the Jack of Diamonds, a gun smuggler who weaves a deadly path of revenge against the agents. But when the bad guys go too far and grab Donna's mother, she comes out shooting! I missed Taryn a little bit in this one, but I soon found myself quite smitten with Roberta Vasquez as Nicole...what a lousy two-timer I am. The funniest scene involves a magician/agent interrogating some suspects...and you'll really dig the cross dressing assassins. It's also great fun to see the normally sunny Estrada playing a villain.
Hard Ticket is the most fun, and Savage Beach the best overall,
I'd have to say that Guns is my personal favorite of the set.
Favorite line: "Use the
cerebral approach...shoot her in the head."
(Second favorite line: "Hi-ya,
It runs in the family...Andy actually joined wife Arlene in the producer's chair for this one while their son Drew took over directing duties! In this one, three agents, Becky (Suzi Simpson), Chris (Bruce Penhall) and Mark (Mark Barriere) are up against a drug lord called Santiago (Rodrigo Obregon). But when a double agent gets them temporarily suspended, they go off in search of a legendary cache of gold from the Civil War. But Santiago seizes the moment and goes after both the agents and the treasure with the help of a lethal Amazon-like assassin (Julie Strain).
This film boasts the funniest script of the lot; there are plenty of
laughs for your dollar here. Not to
mention, Julie Strain does a firelight dance with a sword that made me forget my
name for at least ten minutes. It's
interesting to see a Sidaris film beginning with a Civil War scene.
Union and Confederate ranks fire tirelessly at one another in a raucous
battle. But nobody ever falls...the
soldiers must have all been ancestors of the Abilene boys!
Favorite line: "You better
be nice to me, or I'll tell Uncle Jessie what you did with that chicken last
On one hand, you could call these films the stuff of male
fantasy: the gorgeous women, the
action, the fighting, the guns, the bombs are enough to raise one's
testosterone to lethal levels. But
on the other, there is a consistent theme of women's empowerment at play here.
Andy's ladies are not boy toys; they're strong, smart, independent,
resourceful, and capable. Sex
isn't an act of submission for them...it's an act of strength.
That's what raises the appeal for me.
Personally, I'd love to see Andy direct the next Tomb Raider film
and really bring us the Lara Croft we've all been waiting to see.
By the way, for extra fun, keep you eye out for Andy's
all films in the collection, daylit scenes are quite beautiful, with strikingly
good color and clarity. As the
movies progress in age, they handle the darker scenes better and better.
In the earliest picture Malibu Express, night scenes are a little
murky and grainy, and considerably softer.
But each disc gets better and better.
By about Savage Beach, things are looking extremely well...I only
wonder why Andy didn't opt for widescreen presentations for his movies?
Still, overall, the collection delivers well.
not specified, the audio tracks seem to be stereo mixes, and for the most part,
the good outweighs the bad. The
good is that the action sequences, and there are plenty of them, are forceful
and dynamic and really add punch to the features.
The bad news isn't so much a transfer problem as a source one; many
bits of dialogue were obviously looped in, and you can frequently tell the
difference, either because the sync is slightly off or just by the difference in
tone certain lines have compared to the rest of the scene.
Not much can be done about that. Still,
the gunfire, speeding cars, swooping planes and voluminous explosions are a
six discs are loaded with goodies. For
starters, every film is introduced by Andy Sidaris and star Julie Strain (she
isn't camera shy, either), with occasional other guest stars...they'll get
you right in the proper frame of mind to enjoy these Malibu Bay Films.
Each disc also features a running commentary by Andy and Arlene Sidaris,
and each one is a treat. The couple share their memories with generosity, warmth and
humor, and the chemistry they have with one another is solid entertainment value
in and of itself.
full set of Sidaris trailers is on each disc, as well as a collection of
behind-the-scenes vignettes. These
include interviews with Andy and Arlene and some of their stars, looks at the
making of each film, and enjoyable 'film school' segments that demonstrate
the art of getting your movie made. Andy
demonstrates and discusses such aspects of the craft as coverage of wide shots
with close-ups, cutting action sequences together, using on-set video for
continuity purposes, and more. There
are many surprises in store here. Just
remember, the extras are NOT RATED.
disc also features stills galleries, and the box comes with a booklet that
features a comic preview and some photos.