Sunday, 26 March 2023

Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987)

Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987) was Andy Sidaris’s follow-up to the very successful Malibu Express and he obviously has the formula humming away perfectly by now. We get girls, we get boobs, we get guns, we get stunts, we get action. We get a totally insane over-complicated plot containing lots of elements that make no sense. It’s movie magic.

A couple of Hawaiian cops are about to bust a marijuana plantation. It’s routine. It’s a small scale operation and the cops don’t care about it. Those growing the weed will get hit with a small fine and the cops will get a small pay-off. It’s no big deal. Nobody’s going to get hurt. Except that the cops find they’ve stumbled into a much larger operation, and they get blown away by shotguns.

Meanwhile glamorous blondes Donna (Dona Speir) and Taryn (Hope Marie Carlton) are about to take off in their Cessna, bound for Molokai. They’re taking a honeymooning couple to a secluded romantic spot and they’re delivering a live snake to a wildlife park.

Donna and Taryn supposedly work for a tiny air cargo company. Donna is actually an undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency. Taryn has been placed in Hawaii as part of the witness protection program. There’s a contract out on her. I have no idea why she’s been placed with a DEA agent. I’d have thought that would be a good way for her to attract attention which is not exactly the aim of a witness protection program. While Taryn is a civilian she seems to consider herself to be a kind of honorary DEA agent. And she has martial arts training.

Donna and Taryn spot something very curious. It’s a toy plane. Only it’s not a toy, it’s a very expensive very sophisticated remote-controlled model helicopter. And it’s carrying a cargo. Two goons show up to collect the cargo but the girls fight them off. And now the girls have the cargo.

The cargo comprises two very small crates of diamonds.

Donna decides she needs to do some serious thinking about it so she does what any woman would do in such a situation. She takes off her clothes and jumps into the jacuzzi with Taryn. Donna explains that she does her best thinking in a jacuzzi. Did I mention that Donna is a blonde?

That live snake is also going to be a problem. It’s the wrong snake. The snake the girls delivered to Molokai has been contaminated with toxins. It’s certain death if it bites you. And the snake has escaped from its crate.

The two girls are going to need some help on this case. Luckily fellow DEA agent Rowdy Abilene (Ronn Moss) is at hand, with his buddy Jade (Harold Diamond). I assume Rowdy Abilene is supposed to be the brother of the hero of Sidaris’s earlier Malibu Express, Cody Abilene. Cody and Rowdy are both legendarily lousy shots. It must run in the family.

Rowdy knows he’s a lousy shot. That’s why he doesn’t rely on a handgun. His weapon of choice is a four-barrelled rocket launcher. With a rocket you don’t have to hit the bad guy right between the eyes.

The bad guys, led by the sinister killer Seth Romero (Rodrigo Obregon), make numerous attempts to kidnap the girls to find out what happened to those diamonds. Taryn is the only one who knows where they are. The girls fall into the hands of a sadistic lady bodybuilder.

While this is happening the mutant killer snake goes on a bit of a rampage.

There’s also a sumo wrestling scene, for no reason whatsoever.

This movie is mostly just pure entertainment but it does offer an important warning about an important social problem - frisbee-throwing. Frisbee-throwing isn’t a harmless pastime. Frisbees can be deadly weapons in the wrong hands.

Andy Sidaris understood perfectly how to make movies like this. You find some nice locations that you can use, preferably for free. Things like fancy restaurants, high-class golf clubs. That makes a cheap movie look expensive. If you can get the use of a plane or a helicopter at a bargain price you use it. You save every penny you can. You keep the action going at a relentless pace. You make sure the actresses are topless as frequently as possible. The plot doesn’t have to make sense as long as it keeps the action moving along. Watching an Andy Sidaris movie is like a masterclass in low-budget exploitation film-making.

The acting is both terrible and absolutely perfect. All the cast members know what is expected of them. It doesn’t matter if the acting is bad as long as it isn’t boring. When casting an actress the most important question to be asked is - has she been a centrefold? If the answer is yes, you cast her.

The stunts are done extremely well. Sidaris knows how to shoot an action scene. The special effects (the mutant killer snake) are incredibly cheesy but in a good way.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii is totally silly, very exciting and wildly entertaining. Highly recommended.

My copy comes from the Mill Creek 12-movie Andy Sidaris DVD boxed set, Girls, Guns and G-Strings. The transfers are excellent and there are plenty of extras including audio commentaries by Andy Sidaris and his wife Arlene (who produced most of his movies). Sidaris comes cross a totally crazy totally charming guy. This DVD set is so good that I can see no reason whatever why I would want to upgrade to any of the more recent Blu-Ray releases.


tom j jones said...

I had that box set, but I seem to have mislaid it at some point; luckily(?), I found this movie online - there are two versions, one with the nudity removed; for research purposes, I watched the unedited version. If you switch your brain off - and I mean RIGHT off - this is entertaining in a so-bad-its-good way. There are even a couple of decent gags.

Funnily enough, with all the lovely centrefolds, it was the sadistic lady bodybuilder who caught my eye lol

dfordoom said...

tom j jones said...
If you switch your brain off - and I mean RIGHT off - this is entertaining in a so-bad-its-good way.

It's definitely a movie for times when you have a craving for movie junk food.