It Jumps, It Squeeks,
It Reviews Strange Movies

BAD GUYS (1986)

      Say--Is that giant penetrating missile between their Speedo'd legs supposed to represent something?
      Whoa, you just know that the "zany, action-packed escapades" of wrestlers who take on the "Kremlin Krushers" is going to mine comedy gold. Note that prominently placed "review" from the NY Times, which they're so proud of that it turns up in boldface on the back of the box. That's not a review, that's a comment. It's like a radio ad I keep hearing about some romance novel set in WWII Russia: "It recalls Doctor Zhivago." The ad refers to this a "rave," when it's one of those out-of-context lines that really could mean anything. Like "It rips off Doctor Zhivago." I've seen Ebert's bad reviews being used as "raves." "The best movie Adam Sandler's made so far!" he said of Little Nicky. Which he meant as "The bluntest nail I've pounded into my temple so far!"

      I knew that it was a bad sign when I put Bad Guys into the VCR and it was at the 35 minute mark. That meant someone had reached their personal best at making themselves watch it. And they were stronger than me--I gave up at 30 minutes, when Ruth Buzzi came on. As a wrestler! Cackling like a witch on nitrous for every second of screen time.
      It's one of those "So bad it's bad" movies. Nothing sucks worse than a comedy that isn't funny. Or having main characters that are completely unlikable when the movie thinks they're lovable. One newspaper headline--in a Los Angeles paper that's exactly 4 pages thick--refers to them as "Brutal Cops Maim Teenagers." I have no idea when that happened, as it comes after the Brutal Cops wail the shit out of a biker bar. There was another "newspaper" of paper towel thickness that headlined that fight, "Brutal Cops Beat Up Biker Bar." Let's face it, if you're commonly known as Brutal Cops in Rodney King's home town, you're pretty fucking as brutal as cops can be. And I'm supposed to hate the Kremlin Krushers just because it says "CCCP" on their shorts?
      There are Fag Jokes, too. Mincing, lisping, prancing, makeup-wearing campy faggy-fag cliches right out of the 60s. This is odd as this movie cannot be said to have a homoerotic subtext. It has a homoerotic ubertext. The second scene in the movie has Blond Cop rubbing Brunette Cop's nipple in a way that says "Why, yes, I rub his nipples all the time, what's your beef?" (Brunette Cop does not say "Oh, I'm your beef!") Oh, and they work as Chippendales in one scene, and Brutal Blond rips Brutal Brunette's pants off. And, ya know, wrestling involves rubbing against sweaty men in their undies, so draw your own conclusions. My conclusion is: Subtext or not, Good GOURD, this movie sucks turnbuckle.
      But I said that I'd watch, and I'll watch it just for you, the loyal reader. It's not like I've got anything else to do anyway. But I'm watching it small, measured doses. Dang, this thing's harsh. Daddy needs his reviewing medicine! Fetch the Jagermeister!

      The next time someone tells you that Windows XP doesn't blue-screen, punch them in the snoot. It just ate all that I'd typed since that last bit, and I'm sure not rewinding the movie to see what I missed. My next computer's a Mac.

      First bit of comic genius I saw when I restarted the tape:

      Oh, did I mention that their promoter's a Babe? Inevitable romantic subplot comes next. I realize that this movie was written for 12 year old boys, but this is the point where I realized that it was written by one, too. Smashing sweaty fat men in the ring is easy, but asking a girl out on a date? I mean, there's the whole issue of cooties to address! Blondie stammeringly asks her out, then Brunettie does the same (despite being in earshot of the previous conversation). She invites him to the SAME restaurant she's going to meet Blondie in, at the SAME TIME! Oh, imagine the comic possibilities! SeXXXy totally-not-written-by-a-12-year-old dialogue:      Then Brunettie shows up! And the scene ends. Err, forget those comic possibilities you were imagining. This really looks like "What with all the nipple-rubbing, we needs us a scene where they likes them a chick so's they don't seem so homo!"
      Then, umm, let me remember...Oh, the biker bar guy? He's like in league with the Commies' promoter and so they capture Our Heroes after a chase scene that's as stupid as it can be. "No trucks were hurt in the filming of this sequence, as we don't have the budget to have one crash." It ends when the Bad Guys' huge pickup crashes into a freakin' bale of COTTON. And the truck screeches to a halt, like aspirin against the cotton under the safety seal.
      Then, since this is a light-hearted action romp, they get strung upside down on chains and beaten with baseball bats until blood drools from their mouths. YEH BOYYY! Finally an enjoyable scene! Maybe one of the bat wielders is a maimed teenager! Say, is that Rodney King getting his revenge? No, it's a guy who's like 5 feet tall, oh how men-a-cing he is. "Oompa, loompa, doopity doo! I'm gonna kick yer ass with midget Kung Fu!" Oh, wait, suddenly the cops are here to save them. Coppus ex machina. It couldn't seem more contrived unless the police arrived in a cloud of magic pixie dust. "Clap if you believe in the LAPD!" Seems that they've been after the biker and the bad promoter for a while. Then, the cops race the Brutals to the ring! Do they arrest the Bad Promoter when they get there, or allow the Brutals to kick Commie ass in the ring first? "DUNNO, COPPER!" I'll have to watch and see! OOOH, I am SO on the edge of my toilet seat here! Okay, I wiped myself, now I'll go finish the movie.
      After an hour and 10 minutes, fourth-billed "co-star" Sgt Slaughter finally appears. He sits in the audience and kisses a fag. Sorry! Kisses a flag. There is no homoerotic subtext! I should point out that Buzzi makes third billing, and the Brutals are played by (Brunettie) Mike Jolly (BWA-HAHAHAA!) and (Blondie) Adam Baldwin. No idea if he's a Brother of the Other Baldwins.
      Did I mention that Evil Promoter--who's British, don't you know, and wears a monocle and talks like he's got a Lime Rickey in his hands in Colonial India c.1898--has a huge Oddjob-esque Korean bodyguard? As the Brutals are about to defeat the Commies, he yells "Break this up, Professor!" "BANZAII!!" yells the Korean man mountain--err, well, "Banzai," he's Japanese I guess now. He attacks ...I don't know, one of them, I'm really finding it hard to concentrate. And Sgt Slaughter gets his first line of dialogue. Is it "GO, JOE"? NO! It's "Get him a baloney!" I rewound the tape 5 times, and that's the best translation I can come up with. THERE IS NO HOMOEROTIC SUBTEXT! Then Sarge hands his kissable flag to someone and says "Ho'dis!" Evidentally the Sarge took a lot of speech lessons between this movie and GI Joe. Next, in this so-exciting wrestling match, there are no less than 3 attacks with folding chairs, and--OH NO! "He's got the AMERICAN FLAG!" yells a guy as a Commie stabs our unattractive heroes with Old Glory. "That's the AMERICAN FLAG!" helpfully adds a cop. Old Glory's about to become Old GORY! Oh, if only this match would end! The suspense is killing...Wait, what's that noise? Hahaha! Killsy's crawled in a grocery bag! LOOK AT THE KITTY!

      AH-HAHAHAHA!!! You nut! You so cute! You...oh, wait, the horrible SU-SPENSE. I forgot.
      The Commies beat an old guy who takes the flag and holds it up all Red Badge of Couragey. "That's the most patriotic thing I've ever seen!" says one of the Brutals. I can't tell which, as the dialogue's dubbed. "Now let's show them what AMERICA MEANS!" Which is jumping on people and beating them to shit. YEAH! Don Rumsfeld must LOVE this movie!
      "USA! USA! USA!" chants Slaughter. "Report to the station first thing tomorrow!" says the Chief of Police. "Report to the gym first thing tomorrow!" says the Trainer. "First things first!" chorus the Brutals, as they kiss the Promoter on her cheeks. While looking at each other...NO! SUBTEXT! HERE!
      Gag me with a wrestling belt, the end credits have a rawk video based on the movie. Throaty-voiced 1985 girl group that looks suspiciously like the Misfits from Jem and the Holograms, although their name is "Precious Metal." "BAD GUYS! God, you'll wish you never met us! BAD GUYS! They'll beat you till you're deadest!" Brilliant lyrics! Oh, how Morrissey weeps over not coming up with that insight. Okay, Morrissey weeps when he writes a grocery list, but if there ever was a group that'd make you cry (with pain), It's Jem and the Precious Metals.
      This next lyric I listened to 5 times, and the first, best and only translation I have is: "When trouble starts, you gotta watch for those swingin' low! He feels so Greek, He falls from one mighty blow!"