Follow us on

Featured DVD Review: Bitch Slap

March 12th, 2010

Bitch Slap - Buy from Amazon

I first heard about Bitch Slap when I saw an interview with the three leading ladies on No Good TV, which unlike more interview programs serves alcohol to its guests. I immediately made a mental note to check out this movie when it hit DVD, as I assumed it wouldn't get a wide release. That was more than a year ago. So was it worth the wait?

The film starts with a car pulling up to a trailer in the desert. Actually, it starts with a woman crawling through debris asking, "Oh, my god. How did it comes to this?" before we flashback to the beginning with a car driving up to a trailer in the desert. In the car are three beautiful women: Hel, a businesswoman with has connections, Camero, an ex-con with a violent streak, and Trixie, a stripper who is down on her luck. The brains, the brawn, and the damsel in distress. It turns out they are there to steal $200 million worth of diamonds from a criminal, Gage, who in turn stole them from a criminal kingpin, Pinky. Along the way, they encounter insane criminals looking for the same diamonds, a goody-goody cop trying to save the day, etc. While through flashbacks we learn about the characters' pasts. By the end, secrets are revealed and alliances are tested.

Overall, the film earned mixed reviews and that's about as good as a film like this could hope for, as it is simply not for everyone. It's an exploitation flick in the same vein as the recent Grindhouse double-feature, or the classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. So how well does it succeed when compared to films like those? I would call it a qualified success.

On the one hand, I think the film does have the heart of an exploitation flick. There are plenty of beautiful women showing lots of cleavage, but these are also strong women who can dish out the violence as well. Those are basically the two key ingredients for this type of film. It does have more, including a plot with more twists and turns than most. The three leads are mostly unknowns. In fact, the actress who plays Trixie, the Damsel in Distress, is Julia Voth and this is her first movie role (although she was the model for Jill Valentine in the Resident Evil video games.) However, they handle the acting and the action well. Additionally, there are a ton of cameos in the movie, mostly from the Hercules / Xena TV shows (the co-writers/co-producers used to work on those franchises and are still friends with a lot of the actors). Those are fun to pay attention to. Finally, there are more than a few "Easter Eggs" here and there for Sci-fi fans to find. (For instance, you can see the Mach 5 in Gage's car collection, while the prison cell Hel and Trixie are in is number 1138.)

On the other hand, sometimes the film can go a little too far and there were a couple "Baywatch" moments. Using slow motion when watching the women get out of the car at the beginning of the movie is fine and it sets the tone nicely. However, when it came to the water fight in the middle of the movie, it was too over the top for me. Also, while there are plenty of twists (perhaps too many), some were a little to predictable. The main twist involves the identity of Pinky. It was clear that Pinky would be one of the main characters, and it was equally clear to me who that would be. (The one whose outward personality was the least like a criminal kingpin.)

There is also the issue of the numerous flashbacks that are all shot on green screens. The backgrounds are less than photorealistic. I believe the term used in the audio commentary is "Hyper-reality". For some, this added a sense of style to the movie. For others, it was the antithesis of the gritty grindhouse motif they were going for. So depending on your personal preference, this could be a positive or a negative for the film. For the most part, I liked it.

On a side note, the DVD is labeled "Unrated", but that's mostly marketing. Sure, there are a few scenes that apparently go on a little longer than the theatrical cut, but I can't see it getting anything higher than an R.

Extras on the DVD start with two audio commentary tracks, starting with Rick Jacobson (co-writer / co-producer / director); Eric Gruendemann (co-writer / co-producer); and Brian Peck (associate producer). The second has Julia Voth (Trixie, a.k.a. The Damsel in Distress); Erin Cummings (Hel, a.k.a. The Brains); and America Olivo (Camero, a.k.a. The Brawn). Normally the crew commentary is rather dry, while the cast commentary has all of the energy. In this case, both commentary tracks have a lot of energy, while they also supply plenty of information. There is a lot of crossover, however. Also on the DVD is a three-part, feature-length "making-of" documentary called Building a Better B-Movie, which starts right from the very beginning, before they even had a hint of an idea for a plot. (Essentially they wanted to make a movie they could do that would be very inexpensive, but that they could still sell to a wide audience. That meant no night shoots, limited locations, etc.) In total, it's nearly 100 minutes long, which is about as long as the movie itself, and it is filled with every tidbit of information you could want. Plus, it's a lot of fun.

The Verdict

Bitch Slap is a great movie for those that miss Russ Meyer's influence on the movie industry. With two audio commentary tracks and a feature-length "making-of" documentary, the DVD has more than enough extras to be worth picking up for fans of these films.

- Submitted by:

Filed under: Video Review, Bitch Slap