Thursday, December 28, 2017


PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*
FRYEAN MYTHOS: *adventure*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: *sociological, metaphysical*

Given all the ballyhoo surrounding the Disney Croporation’s purchase of George Locas’s most famous creation, this film might have been credibly subtitled THE FRANCHISE AWAKENS.

While the purchase put a lot of shekels in Lucas’s pockets, it could have resulted in a poor exchange for all audiences looking for a new STAR WARS adventures. Corporations that take over properties have been known to re-assert their “brand” over said properties by attempting ill-considered remakes or reboots of said properties. Of course, remakes and reboots come about even when corporate properties don’t change hands—the most relevant one being the 2009 reboot of the STAR TREK franchise. Producer-director J.J. Abrams orchestrated that re-branding, which, as I’ve noted here, was something less than a total aesthetic success.

        When I first viewed Abrams’ STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS last year, I was much more impressed with the results of this work. I’m sure that some of my satisfaction eventuated from the fact that FORCE was not a remake or reboot, but a continuation of the ongoing saga. That said, the continuation follows some patterns of the re-brainding process. The story, though technically new, follows a pattern that some fans found repetitious way back when Lucas repeated his ‘destroy the Death Star” schtick in 1983’s RETURN OF THE JEDI. The script makes no bones about originality, either: BB-8, a new “cute droid,” is introduced early on, but late in the film the story had BB-8 come in contact with both C3P-O and R2D2. Thus the new kid on the block seems to picking up a passed torch rather than usurping a beloved role.

In the case of actors who aren’t playing non-aging droids, the necessity of replacement is far more crucial. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess (now General) Leia, and Chewbacca all make appearances, with Harrison Ford’s Solo getting the lion’s share of screen-time, for reasons relating to  the film’s denouement. But all four are on the second tier next to two more new kids, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega). In future chapters the two of them will almost certainly accrue further allies of consequence, but FORCE is constructed to sell Rey and Finn as the new core of Disney’s STAR WARS universe. 

Before going into greater detail regarding the film’s heroes, I'll touch on the greater weakness of "New Star Wars": its villains. The original Empire has fallen within a time-span roughly covalent with that of the older actors’ life-spans. Now a new threat to the Republic arises: the First Order, said to have been built from the remnants of the old Empire, and once more empowered behind the scenes by two Sith Lords. The elder Sith, Snoke, is no better or worse than Lucas’s Emperor, but Kylo Ren, “the new Darth Vader,” reminds me less of the original’s samurai-like formidability and more of “whiny Anakin” from the prequel trilogy. His entire arc is predicated on the tremendous irony that he is the seed of the love between Han and Leia, but this alone is not enough to make him a memorable opponent. 

Similarly, the fact that Kylo trained under Luke Skywalker doesn’t give him any gravitas, either. However, it’s an interesting psychological touch that the script, by having Luke be Kylo’s teacher, makes him the symbolic offspring of the Luke-Leia-Han triangle. Skywalker fled the inhabited galaxies prior to the rise of the First Order, specifically because he, as much as Kylo’s literal parents, failed in the parental duty of keeping the kid from Turning to the Darth Side.

Skywalker himself is the prize sought by Rey, Finn and assorted Republic allies, and the script does an admirable job of hewing to the simple charm of the original STAR WARS: two opposed sides seeking the same McGuffin. It’s certainly preferable to Lucas’s elephantine attempts at governmental conspiracy in the prequel trilogy, though here the Republic takes a back seat to the Resistance commanded by General Leia.

 As for the First Order, its name alone gave me some hope that it might not be just another space-opera version of the Roman Empire; that it might more of a theocratic rebellion along the lines of al-Qaeda. No such luck, though: it’s the same old Stormtrooper methods.

That said, the Stormtroopers themselves get a “soft reboot.” I’m not enough of a WARS expert to know how serious George Lucas was when he suggested, in ATTACK OF THE CLONES, that all of the Empire’s soldiers were clones descended from one individual, Jango Fett. I’m not even sure what advantage Lucas thought this would give troops: to be dependent on one skill-set. 

Here alone the Disney franchise significantly rewrites Lucas: now most if not all Stormtroopers are abducted from their homeworlds and trained to be obedient soldiers. In this essay, I noted how the misprision between Lucas’s ideas and those conceived under the Disney regime resulted in WARS fans evincing a negative reaction to the reaction that Finn would be a black stormtrooper. This was not, as some leftist pundits claimed, racism, but a perception regarding continuity. The Disney rewrite takes the emphasis off Lucas’s attempt to justify a tossed-off reference to “clone wars,” and implicates the Empire/First Order in a space-faring version of organized slavery, including, but not limited to, the Africa Diaspora.

That said, the character of Finn, though an improvement on the one-dimensional Lando Calrissian, remains underdeveloped in FORCE. He’s sometimes given the aura of  a “Han Solo in training,” but this aspect of his function gets sidetracked when Rey, not Finn, forms a quasi-paternal bond with the original. In fact Rey displays aspects of all of her parental influences,combining Han’s talents for piloting and scrounging, Leia’s feminine hauteur, and Luke’s instinctive connection with the Force. The film ends with her making contact with Luke, who, I assume, will become her mentor. Whether or not Finn receives comparable character development remains to be seen in the sequel.

Surprisingly, director Abrams is as good a fit in the Lucas Universe as he was bad in the Roddenberry one. In my first viewing of FORCE, I was impressed by a simple scene in which Rey, having scavenged a wrecked ship, uses an improvised “sled’ to descend a high sand-dune. That one scene, more than any number of animated ray-blasts or whizzing tie-fighters, captures the essence of the original STAR WARS: full of Lucas’s love for the cinema’s transformation of sheer motion into visual poetry.

To be sure, Abrams doesn’t possess the talent evinced by the Lucas of 1977 for synthesizing great action-scenes from Classic Hollywood: the western’s saloon-confrontation, the pirate film’s yardarm-flights, the war film’s airborne strafing-runs. But then, given that even later Lucas lost his mojo in this department, it’s hard to expect Abrams to do him one better. FORCE AWAKENS is at least a good start to a new franchise, and a much better reworking than others that I could have—or already have—mentioned.


PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*
FRYEAN MYTHOS: *adventure*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: *sociological, metaphysical*

At the end of the first SCORPION KING, barbarian assassin Mathayus overcomes an evil general and inherits his empire, as well as a comely prophetess. I’ve seen, but entirely forgotten, the events of SCORPION KING 2, but Number Three handily dispenses with any references thereto. REDEMPTION starts Mathayus off from square one: his wedded wife is dead and his empire is lost. But it’s cost him of the rollicking good cheer the hero displayed in the first opus.
Since Mathayus couldn’t be “relatable” unless he were deeply affected by his wife’s passing, he becomes a figure of utter seriousness throughout REDEMPTION. However, on the chance that any persons renting this DTV item wanted to see something of the old Mathayus, said customers get their wishes fulfilled. Once agsin, Mathauyus is set on the path of heroism by a patron, who wants to prevent an evil sorcerer (Billy Zane) from conquering the world. However, this time the patron insists that the former Scorpion King take along a partner: a bulky Northern boor named Olaf, who, for the remainder of the film, supplies most of the film’s humorous moments. True, none of Olaf’s  dumb-stooge-humor is good, but I suppose he serves the purpose of keeping the protagonist’s dour attitude from sinking the film.

Though REDEMPTION clearly has a lower budget than the original flick, it’s still several grades better than the average SYFY-Channel sword-and-sludge. The actors are well costumed, the fights decently orchestrated, and there’s some OK location shots. Once again the hero starts out as a simple mercenary and is “redeemed” by his innate altruism. He ends up looking for a missing princess as well as for the sorcerer’s  magic book, and the princess turns out to be the secret head of a clan of might-as-well-be-ninjas, mostly female. Princess Silda (Krystal Vee) is comely and has a good scene doing a practice-fight with Mathayus and kicking his ass. She also has a one-on-one with a sword-fight with a female demon sent by the evil sorcerer. No wheels are invented here, but Billy Zane distinguishes himself with an enjoyable comic take on the usual cloddish dictator.

REDEMPTION looks really good next to PEGASUS  VS. CHIMERA, a truly bare-bones version of the Pegasus story. In the original Greek myth, the hero Bellerophon gains control of the winged horse Pegasus, and one of his deeds includes killing a destrucrtive beast, the Chimera. 

This time around, a tyrant named Orthos kills the father of a young man, Belleros. The youth hides away long enough to put a few years on him. At this point he decides it’s finally the right time to go forth and avenge his father.

By this time, Orthos has gotten older, though he staves off the aging process with spells from his pet magician. However, Ortthos still has a lot of enemies, mostly the race of the defiant Tyrians, to which Belleros belongs.  The wizard encourages Orthus to overcome all opposition by summoning the Chiimera from the depths of Hades, and Orthos agrees.

Not long before summoning the Chimera, Orthos slays the Tyrian king, who happened to have a tough daughter, skilled in archery and swordplay. Daughter Philony stumbles across Belleros, and they make an alliance. They can’t do anything against the supernatural power of the Chimera, but a good seer helps them summon Pegasus from his constellation in the firmament. The sorceress also tells them if Pegasus doesn’t finish their task by a certain time, the whole universe will fall apart. (Wonder if Big Daddy Zeus knows about this?)

It’s a serviceable enough plot, but PEGASUS is hobbled by its budget. The CGI is so restricted that the winged horse and the reptilian monster can only gesture menacingly at one another whenever they fight. Even fight-scenes between actors are hampered by the director’s penchant for quick cuts possibly utilized to avoid the necessity for retakes. The actors try gamely to sustain the material, but none of them—not even Rae (“I used to be A-list”) Dawn Chong-- can make a silk purse of this horse’s ass.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*
FRYEAN MYTHOS: *adventure*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: *cosmological, sociological*

There's not much of a symbolic discourse in TERROR BENEATH THE SEA, so I have to rate the film's mythicity as "poor." Yet it almost seems a shame to do so, since the flick was meant to be nothing more than a quickie SF-thriller aimed at young adolescents. I never saw TERROR in my youth, but its wild pulpy situations and use of vivid primary colors reminds me of a kidhood-favorite, 1969's LATITUDE ZERO, which also combined American and Japanese actors.

ZERO, however, included a couple of former A-listers, while all of the Americans in TERROR were amateurs moonlighting from their day-jobs for this production. Given that the director was Japanese, and that the only billed Japanese actor was Sonny ("not yet STREET FIGHTER") Chiba, it's amazing that the amateurs come off as well as they do here. Still, the director and scriptwriter-- adapting a Japanese original novel-- must have known that the key to selling the film was action, action, action-- and thus there's almost no time devoted to any character not in the midst of some crucial situation.

Chiba and American Peggy Neal play Ken and Jenny, two ace reporters invited to observe underwater tests of submarine technology. When the test goes awry, Ken glimpses, via underwater camera, a strange humanoid form under the depths, but no one credits him. However, Jenny accompanies Ken in a scuba-expedition in order to nose around for news.

As so often happens in juvenile fiction, protagonists with no special training immediately stumble across a major secret-- in this case, an underwater base, run by a mad genius, Doctor Moore. Moore is a genius who has brought a coterie of great scientists to his retreat for one purpose: to engineer a race of 'water cyborgs." These cyborgs, produced largely by introducing cybernetics into a human being. Ken and Jenny, whom Moore recognizes upon meeting them, are to be inducted into the ranks of the aquatic automatons. The navy commences looking for the missing reporters, leading to a major conflict between Moore's city and U.S. submarines-- though naturally, the actions of the two brave reporters make a big difference in thwarting Moore's evil plans.

TERROR was apparently the conception of American producers even though it was made by Toei Studios in Japan, using the aforementioned amateur Caucasians to counterfeit the appearance of an American B-movie. Many such co-productions are filled with odd, risible lines of dialogue, but TERROR is pretty straight-faced and straightforward: the only line that struck me a little odd was Moore's announcement, "What you see here now is a water cyborg."

One other interesting detail is that while Japanese studios of the time made a great number of fantasy-films focused on heroes or monsters, TERROR is one of the few 1960s live-action films that focuses largely on the villain.

Thursday, December 14, 2017



This particular HOUND was the first of four Canadian TV-productions which starred Matt Frewer in the role of Sherlock Holmes. I find Frewer's reading of Holmes to be one of the worst ever, in that he plays Holmes as a mere smarty-pants fop. However, I chose to rate this TV-movie's mythicity as "fair" simply because in every other way it's a serviceable, if unexceptional, version of the classic Doyle novel. It's such a strong story that even though this TV-movie is obliged to strip the story down to its bare essentials, it does succeed in touching on all of the major mythologems of the narrative. That's more than one can say of what may well be the poorest adaptation ever, the blatantly unfaithful-- and uninsightful-- comedy version from 1978.

Frewer aside, all of the actors comport themselves well enough, from Kenneth Welsh's Doctor Watson to Jason London, whose Sir Henry Baskerville comes off as a likable character, rather than the more typical cipher. Rodney Gibbons, who directed the other three films in the series, allows for some nice location shots, though the production's too cheap to spring for fog-machines. And the filmmakers did exert themselves to get a pretty impressive "hound," one big enough to be credibly mistaken for a wolf-- which is something one doesn't even see in some of the classier flicks.

Monday, December 11, 2017


PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTIONS: *sociological, cosmological*

If MST2K hadn't picked up this flop pilot and given it their spoof-treatment under the title STRANDED IN SPACE, I don't know if even diehard SF-nerds like myself would remember it.
In essence, it looks as if the credited writer-- one Gerald Sanford-- simply watched the 1969 film JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN and recycled it into a potential series-concept. American astronaut Neil Stryker, along with two other companions, goes into orbit, but somehow he and his friends end up on "Terra," a near-duplicate of the planet Earth, but existing on the opposite side of the sun, where astronomers can't see it-- and also, supposedly never notice its effects on the solar system's integrity.

Stryker-- listlessly played by familiar TV-face Glenn Corbett-- soon tips to the fact that even though Terra looks almost exactly like Southern California, there are subtle differences, like the fact that most people are left-handed rather than right-handed. More tellingly for the potential of future plotlines, all of Terra-- or maybe just North America-- is controlled by an Orwellian government, "The Perfect Order," which somehow took over the world thirty-five years ago and brainwashed most of the populace into believing the Order to being beneficent. Stryker doesn't want a revolution, he just wants to go back to his world, but he has to dodge the Order's murderous agents, led by a taciturn Cameron Mitchell. Had some executive been foolish enough to greenlight this for a series, presumably most episodes would have dealt with the astronaut alternately fighting the Order and trying to find some way to the right Earth.

Since the script gives the actors only minimal emotions to express, it's not surprising that none of them do more than "phone it in." Director Lee Katzin, like scripter Sanford, spent almost his whole career in TV, though he did helm one Robert Aldrich production, the mediocre WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO AUNT ALICE?

Thursday, December 7, 2017


PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*
MYTHICITY: (1) *poor,* (2) *fair*
FRYEAN MYTHOS: *adventure*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: *sociological, metaphysical*

Though SYFY's notorious giant-beast films have almost always been a waste of time, on occasion some of their low-budget fantasy-adventures have their moments.

WITCHVILLE is for the most part an adequate time-killer. In a vague medieval world, Malachi. the only son of the realm's king, is called back to assume the crown when his father passes. No sooner does he return than he's informed that the realm's crops have been devastated by an evil witch, the Red Queen, and her skull-masked soldiers. Strangely, neither Malachi nor his soldiers seem to believe that real witches even exist, but a local witch-hunter, Heinrich, proves that even an innocent-looking grandmother happens to be a pawn of the Queen.

Despite the fact that Malachi and his people know where the Queen's village is, he doesn't take the realm's army to wipe the place off the map, but naturally decides to attack her with a small handful of men and the magic-making witch-hunter. They pick up a few extra hands on the way when Malachi enlists to his quest some thieves who try to rob the expedition. On their way they're repeatedly attacked by the Queen's magic-wielding soldiers, led by her red-cowled daughter Josefa. Frankly, the design of Josefa's costume and the performance of actress Myanna Buring in the role is WITCHVILLE'S only real asset.

Malachi is a thoroughly bland character, and so, even though there's a big dramatic revelation as to his family history it has little impact. The action-scenes are adequate but unexceptional.

HELLHOUNDS also shows its paltry budget, but the direction-- by former kid actor Rick Shroder-- is considerably better, and the script shows some awareness of the archaic culture-- that of pagan Greece-- where the action takes place.

Greek warrior Kleitos is scheduled to marry his betrothed, Demetria. However, some unknown killer steals Demetria's soul and sends it down into Hades, the Greek afterlife. Kleitos and a small group of his fellow warriors actually brave Hades with the goal of reuniting Demetria's soul with her comatose body.

In many respects, HELLHOUNDS and WITCHVILLE follow the same basic template. However, one saving grace of HELLHOUNDS' script is that, although the warriors initially have no weapons capable of harming the denizens of Hades, they figure out that, since everything in the afterlife is created by the death-god, poison taken from one of Hades' monsters can be used against other guardians, like the titular Hounds of Hell.

Though a Canadian production, HELLHOUNDS was filmed in Romania, which may have helped it acquire a little more of an "old world" look.

Monday, December 4, 2017


PHENOMENALITY: *uncanny // marvelous*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTIONS: *sociological, psychological*


Just to get my phenomenological concerns out of the way, MURDER BY DECREE is predominantly a film of the uncanny. As I've done with a very few other entries here, I've denoted what I've elsewhere called the "centric phenomenality" first, while adding that there is an "eccentric phenomenality" that barely impacts on the narrative. In this film, the one element of marvelous phenomenality is that of a psychic who gives the hero some clues regarding the identity of Jack the Ripper. The psychic's abilities are presented as irrefutable, so they don't fit the model of the "ambivalent powers" that I've discussed in such films as 2004's RENEGADE. Yet the story certainly isn't primarily about this particular marvel, so that I judge that the element is eccentric in nature.

Another set of comparisons, perhaps more germane to detective-film fans, is that MURDER BY DECREE is the second major film to pit Sherlock Holmes against the Ripper, following in the footsteps of 1965's A STUDY IN TERROR. DECREE shares some of STUDY's concerns, which I summarized thusly:

Hill’s film uses the menace of the Ripper murders for the purpose of societal critique.  Throughout STUDY the fate of the prostitutes menaced by  “Saucy Jack” indicts the callousness of British society, an indictment with which the conservative Doyle might not have agreed.  Holmes is placed in the position of striving to both save the marginalized poor and to keep the government, whatever its faults, from falling into chaos.

It's certainly possible that someone involved with the later film, directed by Bob Clark not long after his seminal slasher-film BLACK CHRISTMAS, saw STUDY and decided to attempt the same theme with a bigger budget. (DECREE's budget was $5 million, while STUDY's was more like $200,000. At the same time, the official source for DECREE is a Holmes-less nonfiction book, THE RIPPER FILE, so a lot of the similarities may be attributed to popular speculations about the identity of "Saucy Jack." Still, it's interesting that actors Anthony Quayle and Frank Finlay appear in both movies, with Finlay even portraying Inspector Lestrade in both.

The greatest difference between the two films is that whereas STUDY's Jack is a genuine "perilous psycho" whose psychotic activities are covered up by representatives of the British government. In DECREE, there really is no "Mad Jack," but rather two relatively sane murderers killing English prostitutes in apparently ritualistic patterns. All of their efforts are devoted to throwing off suspicion about their real purpose: to conceal the past indiscretions of a real-life aristocrat. (False names are used for the conspirators, though originally they too were based on actual personages.)

Though director Clark had been associated only with low-budget films, the production has an "A-list" look all the way, particularly in its casting of Holmes and Watson with top-decker actors Christopher Plummer and James Mason. Their chemistry provides the film's best moments, particularly in little moments, like Holmes' impatience with seeing Watson try to pick a single pea off his food-plate without squashing it. However, for a Ripper film there are relatively few "spooky" moments, and gore is more implied than seen. Clark shows a few scenes in which the Ripper commits murders without showing his face, so that he seems in line with the killers of both giallo flicks and slashers. However, when Clark does let his "fake Ripper" be seen, the actor doesn't inspire fear or even convey the sense of being a tough customer. He and Holmes have a running battle near the conclusion of the film, but it's nowhere near as spirited a fight as the one in STUDY IN TERROR. On top of that, the fight is concluded when the fake Ripper gets caught in a fishing-net and somehow gets strangled in its coils.

Clearly director and writer chose to avoid the "thriller" aspect of STUDY IN TERROR, placing more emphasis upon the drama of Holmes' conflict as he learns that many of his country's high officials are implicated in the sordid case. Since even the presence of the fictional Holmes couldn't be allowed to contradict the established history of the Ripper, in which the killer is never publicly identitifed, Holmes is obliged to keep the solution of the mystery secret. John Hopkins' script demonstrates an admirable acquaintance with the political concerns of the time-- 1887's "Bloody Sunday" is referenced-- and the degradation of the English prostitutes is conveyed no less ably than in the 1965 film. Indeed, the dominant myth of DECREE, as with STUDY, is that of women's misuse by the male-centered culture-- though I tend to think the women in STUDY are given a bit more fleshing-out.

The Ripper murders are of course "bizarre crimes," and though there's no real psycho here, there are killers posing as a madman, which means that the film uses a "phantasmal figuration" trope not unlike that of THE CAT AND THE CANARY.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

ZETA ONE (1969)

PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*

I suppose it might seem anile to speak of a dopey sexploitation film like ZETA ONE-- also known under such names as ALIEN WOMEN and THE LOVE FACTOR-- in terms of any sociological ramifications. And in truth, ZETA doesn't have any of the oddball charms I found in, say, a similar breast-obsessed flick like INVASION OF THE STAR CREATURES. ZETA's main sources of interest are twofold: (1) it represents a specific type of sexploitation typical of Great Britain in the "swinging sixties," and (2) it's a rare example of a sex-comedy where the women are at once empowered and disempowered.

It's hard to tell if ZETA expresses any personal fetishes on the part of its one-shot director-- who reportedly gave Tigon Studios an incomprehensible potpourri of footage-- or the unbilled raconteurs who stepped in to film additional scenes that made the flick slightly more coherent. The inspiration for the film stemmed from a British sex-picture magazine in which models posed naked or semi-naked in sci-fi outfits. The magazine may have been a response to the influence of the Barbarella comic book, but it's awfully hard to picture writer-director Michael Cort having opened any kind of a book.

Though there are some piddling references to the James Bond spy-craze-- mostly in a frame-sequence involving an agent named "James Word" (Robin Hawdon) -- the film's strongest trope is that of "aliens abduct humans for sexual purposes," seen in British movies as far back as 1954's DEVIL GIRL FROM MARS. Usually, the aliens are deficient in one gender and are making up the deficit with Earthpeople of said gender. Here, the alien "Angvians" (a jumble for "vaginas") are,  for reasons not well explained. abducting Earth-women to take back to a planet full of other women. Earth-agencies seem only dimly aware of this incursion, and play no role in contending with the "alien women." Instead, the extraterrestrial enchantresses get opposition from an evil group of Earthmen, led by a mastermind named Bourdon (James Robertson Justice). Bourdon, having somehow learned of the Angvians' existence, wants to reverse the abduction-project and start capturing alien girls for exploitation on Earth.

Predictably, the movie has no intent to do anything with this "battle of the sexes" except to put a lot of semi-nude women on display, and if ZETA does nothing else, it does assemble an admirable list of British starlets, including Yutte Stensgaard, Anna Gael, Brigitte Skay, and Valerie Leon-- three of whom, for no appreciable reason, sport the names of the Greek Moirae: Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Equally nonsensical is the name of the Angvians' leader, Zeta, played by a covered-up Dawn Addams, who easily turns in the most mechanical performance. Addams doesn't have many scenes, but she plays them all the same, with a forced cheery air that probably reflected her relief at not having to parade around half-naked like the younger actresses.

The plot is merely a farrago of scenes in which the agent of one side gets captured by the other side, interspersed with dull explanatory scenes-- one of which even makes a game of strip-poker tedious. The film's only memorable sequence transpires at the conclusion. Bourdon, having captured one of the Angvians, assembles his men to hunt her like an animal in the forest. A troop of warrior-women, all in pasties and bikini-bottoms, descends to fight Bourdon's men (the villain himself inexplicably disappears from the story, probably due to actor Justice walking off the set). Though the Angvians have been seen performing some very mediocre martial arts back on their own world, the warrior-women defeat the evil exploiters of womankind by pointing their fingers and zapping them into unconsciousness with invisible beams.  Then, with the villains defeated, the Angvians belatedly decide that it might be nice to have a stud around the house, so they invite James Word to join them on Angvia for endless hetero romps. This, far more than showing the hot actresses semi-nude, is a more disempowering message. At least when agents like Derek Flint and Matt Helm end their adventures getting oodles of quim, it's because they-- unlike the worthless Word-- have actually DONE something to merit the hero's reward.