Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vice Squad Motherfuckers

If there is one sentence that should make you want to see the 1982 film Vice Squad it is this one: Wings Hauser plays a pimp named Ramrod.  Oh, he sings the opening song, "Neon Slime," too.

Vice Squad is a bit of a brutal film that centers around the Los Angeles hooker named Princess (Season Hubley) after she helps the police catch Ramrod, who murdered one of Princess' peers.

If there was any doubt that Ramrod was a bit of a nutter, just watch what he does to Princess when the vice squad break in to arrest him.  He uses her head to head butt a cop, beats her with a chair and so on.  He is not a nice guy.

If Ramrod's arrest went according to plan, it would be a short movie.  He's a resourceful guy, however, and after being put into an undercover vehicle he kicks a cop's head through a window, causes the car to crash and makes his escape.  After a few choice visits to various places (including one to a leather daddy gay bar), Ramrod is packing heat and looking to make good on his promise to kill Princess. 

More violent than an episode of T.J. Hooker, which started the same year, the film is also less technically savvy.  Take the marriage to the corpse scene.  Anyone who has seen the film remembers this scene.  As Ramrod is hunting Princess, she is in a bridal dress ready for a night of kinky sex.  As she enters a candlelit room the observant viewer will plainly see a camerman holding a camera to the right of the screen.  It happens pretty quickly, but it is disarming.

Of course, there is no real way to compare this to Shatner's television show.  This is a gritty crime movie, where characters actually curse and cops tend to be as nearly as psychotic as the madmen they are chasing.  Ramrod is, however, far worse than those who chase him. 

The film may seem a bit dated by today's standards.  If the film were remade it would be far too stylized and self-aware to be as enjoyable as the original.  There's a reason this film is remembered so fondly ... and it's not Hauser's singing.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer: Clicking on a link can earn me some cash.  I was not given this film to review.

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