Avenging Angel (1985)

Things are gonna be a little kooky this time around.

One year after the massive success of the original Angel movie, New World Pictures decided it’s time to make a sequel.  However, according to Rory Calhoun, they weren’t willing to pay Donna Wilkes the salary she desired, so she walked.  This opens the door for Betsy Russell to waltz in and sex up the joint.

Admittedly, it was Betsy Russell’s starring turn in Avenging Angel that I bought this entire collection for.  After seeing Cheerleader Camp and really digging her, and knowing a little about this series from all the time I spent in a video store for the first, oh, 23 years of my life, I slapped my 12 bucks down on the virtual counter over at Amazon and got this “box set”.  

Buuuut…  Angel isn’t the only character being replaced by another actor.  The guy who played detective man in the previous movie also didn’t come back.  So, perhaps the two most important characters in the grand scheme of things are now being played by new actors.  That doesn’t usually work out too well for a movie.  Sure enough, the movie was deemed a box office failure only bringing in a little over $5.5 million.

None of what I mentioned is what I have the most questions about, though.  For that, let’s dive into the movie and I’m sure it will eventually come up.

The movie begins with Molly winning a track meet.  Her boyfriend and detective guy is there to cheer her on.  She and detective guy go for a walk and for dinner.  She tells detective guy that Terry, her boyfriend, doesn’t know anything about her past.  He tells her that Angel is dead and buried (along with almost all her friends and street family I might add) and not to worry about it.  She reflects about how, when she was workin’ the streets, she hated cops, even detective guy, but now, thanks to him, she’s about to become a lawyer.

And here’s where my questions begin.

This movie came out just one year after the first.  I think we all remember that a huge plot point in the first movie was that she was only 15 and I think we were supposed to realize that it ruined her life because of those jock assholes that kinda wanted to rape her.  Okay, I understand that, here, maybe we are supposed to separate ourselves from the goings on of the first movie.  Like that was all part of some distant past that she no longer part of?  I’m not too opposed to that.

That said, the plot of this movie would need to exist something like 7 years after the first.  I can accept that.  That said, was this always the plot of the sequel?  I know Donna Wilkes was 24 at the time of filming the original, so she could have easily fit the role, but was she going to be clearly older looking?  Are we supposed to think the original took place in 1977 or is this supposed to be 1991?  I call bullshit on both of those assertions.  If I hadn’t watched Angel and Avenging Angel back to back, I probably would have cared a little less, but I still would have kinda wondered.

Alright, so in Hollywood, detective guy is driving around, checking things out.  In a limo, some clearly bad dudes are driving about.  Between seeing them putting in earplugs and loading their guns, we see an Asian girl with bigguns showering and then dressing as a whore to go work them streets… as a cop!  Twist!

Apparently, she’s undercover trying to get some dirt on a crime syndicate.  Another cop radios to detective guy saying it’s possible her cover’s blown and some serious heat is about to come down on her.  To be safe, he heads to her location to check it all out.  The bad guys get to the girl’s home and shoot that fuckin’ place up good.  The cop shoots one of the bad guys before she’s blown to shit.  The bad guys look around the place for some papers or something and take off.

Detective guy drives up just as they are leaving and when he pushes a bystander out of the way, he gets gunned down.  The only person on the street who sees anything is a street performer named Johnny Glitter.  Guess what his schtick is?  He throws glitter at people.  I would punch that motherfucker in the goddamn nose if he did that to me.  You know how hard it is to get glitter off your shit?

Molly is told about detective guy being murdered right in the middle of what I assume is some sort of mock trial for a super important grade.  I feel like that would wait until after that class is over.  But whatevs.

So the bad guys meet and our main bad guy who led the raid on the Asian lady’s home is none other than Ross Hagan.  He’s kind of a superstar of exploitation cinema going all the way back to some biker flicks of the 60s.  What the bad guys were going after was a file compiled by the undercover cop that named all sorts of people, including a cop on the bad guys’ payroll.  Ross Hagan also states that the glitter dude was caught in the crossfire and it’s hard to say what he saw and if it can put any heat on the bad guys’ doings.  The other guy Hagan was talking to was the kid of some big boss or something.  He warns that they don’t need a bigger body count.

So… don’t kill him?  Kill glitter man?  No?  Yes?  Not a bigger body count before glitter man?  Glitter man knowing stuff might lead to a bigger body count so nip that in the bud right now?  I don’t understand your comeback as it pertains to the conversation.

Also…  I guess Angel took place in 1978.

Bullshit.

Molly swears on her dead sorta dad’s grave that she’s gonna get those sons of a bitches that killed him if it’s the last thing she ever does.  She returns to Hollywood Boulevard and sees that all her old hangouts are different or something different.  So maybe it has been a full 7 years.  I still think it’s impossible to look at the cars, the styles, the street shenanigans, etc. and think it was anything other than 1983-84.

Molly meets up with Yo-Yo and they go to Solly’s to say hi.  Yo-Yo says she’s going to hardly recognize Molly and she’ll flip because it’s been FOUR years.

Wait…

What?

No!  I’m sorry, but no.  Goddammit, motherfucker, son of a cock socket.  Look.  Yes, naturally, Betsy Russell is taller, generally looks older, and has bigger boobs (these things are all true, I checked it all out myself to be sure).  So, I’m okay with it being some years later.  I accept that Molly is excelling at school because she was a smart cookie even though she was turning tricks in the first movie.  But she was 15 years old.  They made mention of that numerous times.  Like, a LOT of times.

Now, I’m not a scientist, but 15+4 = 19.  Also, at 19, I’m not sure you’d be in law school.  Actually, I just googled that shit and you apply for the LSAT test to gain admittance to law school the summer before your SENIOR year of college.  Most seniors, even super smart seniors, are about 21 years old at the beginning of their senior year.  Most people in law school would be 22, 23, or 24 years old.  I also think, as shown previously in the movie, if you are doing mock trials and acting as council alone, you’d be a few years into law school.  I’d buy that she was first year law student, but she wouldn’t be 19.  She’d be 22 – at least.

Anyway, I guess I’ll continue this movie despite the fuckshit logic.

So, apparently Solly has this baby.  I guess a hooker owed 7 months back rent and she left the baby and took off.  They found the hooker’s body out back in the dumpster later on.  I don’t know if this is a plot that is important, but I do know what is important, Yo-Yo, Solly, and Molly are gonna go get Kit Carson out of the sanitarium so they can all help her get that sweet, sweet fuck you revenge.  However, I guess you really do have to resort to costumed shenanigans with goofy music to bust an old man out of a sanitarium.

But Betsy Russell’s little nurse outfit is quite fetching.  I’d be concerned that would give Rory Calhoun a fucking heart attack from springing a super boner instantly.  Oh fuck!  I think she did!

Nah, just kidding.  This is all part of the ruse to get Kit out of the hospital.  I feel like this movie has spent an awful lot of time with this breakout scene.  When Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home did it to break Checkov out of a hospital after he suffered a bad fall, there were a couple things going on.  First, it was a time travel thing.  He didn’t belong there, and 1986’s medical standards would have likely left him forever in a coma or vegetative state.  Second, the relationship between the characters was earned and we were owed Kirk and McCoy risking their bacon to save him.

While there is certainly a time warp issue in this movie what with how old Molly is now and what year of school she should be in to align with what we know to be true from previous scenes, I’d say the bigger issue is that Solly and Kit were fun characters in the first movie, and their quirks were interesting and help flesh them out as characters, this shit isn’t earned.  If it was Mae and Molly, great.  Mae was a good character.  Mae had a relationship with Kit.  Granted, Mae also had a relationship with Solly, but, to my recollection, Solly and Kit had zero scenes together.  For all I knew they didn’t know each other at all.

Anyway, it’s a good goddamn thing that Betsy Russell came into the room wearing something kinda sexy or I’d still be rambling on about relationships and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  So, Angel is reborn and Kit takes her to his new warehouse home where he picks up some sidearms.

So now the bad guys are trying to find Johnny Glitter as are Angel and Kit.  The bad guys are kinda hilariously crashing through everything like fucking bulls in a china shop.  They rough up a hooker to find out to go to Chinatown.  They then kick the shit out of the flophouse owner.  They start kicking and punching and roughing up all the poor saps in the flophouse just because they can.  It comes as no surprise that a guy named Johnny Glitter who throws glitter on every fucking thing can be found by the trail of glitter he leaves behind.

I’m not fucking kidding.  Ross Hagan and his men are able to figure out where Johnny Glitter is hiding in the flophouse because of a trail of glitter he leaves behind him wherever he goes.

Kit and Angel show up just in time and are able to kill a couple of the bad guys and save Johnny Glitter.  Ugh…  Now this movie has yet another goofy ass character that will only get in the way of the movie that I think is supposed to be a revenge movie about a sexy chick.  I guess we at least get a sexy studying montage…

I feel like this movie should have less book smarts and more gun shootin’.   Angel calls a community meeting(?) and tells them she’s looked into it and found that a whole bunch of transactions have gone down for businesses and various other land deals.  One guy is like, “It’s not illegal to buy real estate!” but she’s like, “Oh yes it is if you force people to sell or kill them if they don’t.” and he is like, “Okay.”

So, here we are, the villain who is a businessman who muscles people out of their businesses like so much greasy Italian mobster shit.  However, before we can get to any kind of fucking revenge in this revenge movie, Angel gets busted in a routine sweep by the cops, but she uses her lawyerin’ smarts to get them out.  We’re an hour into this movie, and there hasn’t been much sexy or killin’.

Ross Hagan brings some serious fucking heat with the amount of punching and roughing up and kicking he’s laid on some people.  He’s seen smacking around hookers.  When Angel and Kit go to fuck him up over the shit he’s doing, he’s defeated in a prat fall when Angel pours water from a mop bucket all over the floor and he goes slipping and sliding out a 2 or 3 story window.

I don’t think this movie knows what it wants to be.  In the first movie, it was kind of soap opera-y but it had a psycho killer and an orphan who is getting by in life by turning tricks.  There were some other street urchins just barely getting by but seemingly happy.  In this, we do have some threatening organized crime guys and Ross Hagan is fucking beating up everyone, but Angel is acting almost like a literal angel trying to save everyone.  She doesn’t seem nearly angry enough about her father figure being killed.

It really feels more like a cartoon or tweener TV show about a plucky gang of heroes saving their neighborhood from the bad man.  Early on in the film, we got some boobs, but nothing since.  She dresses sexy.  She works the streets as an undercover hooker to get info that she very easily finds by just simply finding the guy who witnessed her surrogate dad’s murder – which she did almost instantly.  I’m not sure where the struggle is in this movie.  The biggest, scariest bad guy is done in by a bucket of water – literally.  A crooked cop working for the bad guys is killed by Police Captain Ossie Davis.  She only had to run away from the cop.

In a movie called Avenging Angel, there’s hardly been any avenging.  It’s almost like this movie should be called Angel and Her Kooky Pals! and she should almost be portrayed as a cartoon teenager who’s all smiles and farts rainbows.  That would definitely go with the guy who throws glitter at everything.

This movie is balls.

Thaaaaaat said…  Rory Calhoun is a goddamn delight in these movies.  It’s right about the point in which the bad guys beat up and shoot some transvestites that I realize I wouldn’t really be annoyed if this movie was just on in the background while I was fucking about at home.  It’s an 80s movie through and through and it’s schlocky as fuck, but I’m only frustrated at this thing because this is supposed to be about revenge and avenging.  Fuck, Avenging is in the goddamn title.

I should be seeing more sexy, more revenge, and more of a feeling that this wants to be some sort of an action movie.

It really begs the question…  Who was this movie made for?  Not those fucking perverts who wanted to see a 15 year old character turning tricks.  Not people who liked the psycho killer element of the first movie.  Not what fans I’m sure Donna Wilkes had going into the original.  Maybe some people who just think Rory Calhoun is a hoot.  Maybe people were sooooo invested in these deep relationships between the characters that they had to see these continuing adventures.

This is what I signed up for. Not… whatever the fuck I’m watching.

So the big finale of this movie involves Kit and Angel killing the big bad businessman’s son at the same time the big bad businessman kidnapping that fucking baby Solly has.  Just after the son is killed, the businessman calls up saying they’ll trade the baby for the son.  I’d like to believe that the bad guys would not have gone through with the trade as proposed because, you know, they’re evil?  However, these bad guys were so fucking feckless I really do think they were waving the white flag over a fucking loser son who kept getting his daddy’s men killed left and right.

All that said, this movie ends in, perhaps, one of the most insane ways seen in all the movies I’ve covered on this blog.  I’d explain it, but thank fucking god Everything Is Terrible has uploaded this shit to their YouTube channel…

The movie, realizing it can’t do no better than Rory Calhoun catching a baby falling many, many stories to it’s very possible death, decides to just role them credits over our kooky band of street level angels as they walk down the street not at all bothered by the multiple murders they have committed on this fine Los Angeles day.

Guys…  This movie is truly bad.  It’s kind of an interesting bad.  I wish I was just watching this movie and not hoping for more than what I got.  I also wish I didn’t watch both the first and second Angel flicks in the same night.  I wish I wasn’t a depraved fuck who wanted to see tits all over the place.

Next week, it’s another Angel flick.  It’s another actress playing the part.  It’s probably not going to be much better.  Come back in seven short days to hear me bitch and moan about Angel III: The Final Chapter.

2 thoughts on “Avenging Angel (1985)

  1. Watching Rory Calhoun catch the kid made me wonder what if he went into full Farmer Vincent mode and made baby back ribs out of the brat? Would’ve made for a better twist ending.

    Like

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