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Angel III: The Final Chapter

tn_angel3ANGEL III: THE FINAL CHAPTER, the third and last of the four ANGEL movies, finds Molly “Angel” Stewart far from her roots. She is no longer played by Donna Wilkes or Betsy Russell, now she’s played by Mitzi Kapture (Silk Stalkings, Baywatch, The Young & the Restless). She’s not a prostitute or a lawyer or runner anymore, now she’s a photographer helping out the police (we see her go along on a gambling bust to take pictures of people running away) and in her spare time trying to work on a photography book about street kids. Most drastic of all she doesn’t live in Hollywood anymore, she lives in New York.
On the positive side, New York is still a place we can see some good movie theater marquees to let us know what time period we’re dealing with here. In fact, we get one in the very first shot:

If you can’t read that we have in the foreground the Patrick Swayze post-apocalyptic joint STEEL DAWN along with Michael Cimino’s THE SICILIAN starring Christopher Lambert. Further down the block a theater is playing SUSPECT (Peter Yates movie starring Cher, Dennis Quaid and Liam Neeson) and LESS THAN ZERO. That means this is 1987, even though that was the year that part 2 took place.

Also notable for the timeline: Molly mentions that her mother abandoned her 14 years ago. STEEL DAWN – 14 years = 1973. Part 1 took place in 1984, and I think she was 14 then, so that would mean she’s been on her own since the age of 7. You gotta hope she was selling lemonade or something for a while. Or wearing a Twiggy from Buck Rogers costume and posing for pictures with tourists on Hollywood Boulevard. But they say she was 12 when she was abandoned, so this must be taking place 12 years after part 1, which means we’re looking at a simultaneous re-release of four 1987 movies in 1996? I don’t get it.

Anyway, one night at an art show Part III Molly sees and photographs a woman (Anna Navarro) who she recognizes as her mother, who you remember abandoned her when she was a teen. Donna Wilkes or earlier. She doesn’t get to talk to her but tracks her back to an art gallery back in California. After discussing it with a friend over this New York lunch of champions:

(hot dog, cigarette and Yoohoo)

she flies to California to confront Mom.

This got me thinking: did Punky Brewster ever find her mother who ditched her at a grocery store when she was a kid? And will they ever make a gritty followup TV movie or mini-series where adult Punky (wearing adult versions of her pink denim vest and mismatched Chuck Taylors) tracks her down? I hope so. I would consider getting HBO for that.

Anyway, Molly is a part time vigilante, so she has a little of the old Paul Kersey/Buford Pusser curse. So the reunion with her mother is short-lived.

But Molly talked with her mom just long enough to find out that she had a half-sister named Michelle (Tawny Fere, ROCKULA) who was in some kind of trouble. So Molly becomes Angel again and briefly walks the streets without turning tricks again. She uses her connections to get into some porn shoots, gets to know the porn actresses and uses them to get hooked up with Nadine (Maud Adams, Octopussy herself), who provides high class escorts, including Michelle, for rich dude parties. (Coincidentally this all ties in to the riverboat gamblers Molly photographed in New York at the beginning, although I don’t think she makes the connection.)

One thing that’s addressed for the first time in the ANGEL series is the existence of pimps. The previous movies are sympathetic toward prostitutes and root for them to get away from street life, but never acknowledge that there are people keeping them there and taking their money. In this one Angel meets Shahid (Emile Beaucard), who pulls a knife on her but is easily tricked with the ol’ “I’m going to have sex with you so take your clothes off in the car here and don’t worry I won’t kick you out and leave you naked on the street” trick and then somehow she never has to deal with him or any other pimp again.

She also manages to make it in the porn industry nearly degradation-free. She just gets to be a background extra wearing a skimpy cavegirl outfit. It might be hardcore, because they mention there’s gonna be a handjob later, but all she has to be around is two topless women wrestling in water. No dicks or anything.

New writer/director Tom DeSimone was perhaps best known for HELL NIGHT and REFORM SCHOOL GIRLS, but not surprisingly he did a ton of porn movies under the name Lancer Brooks. I doubt they were as classy as the cavewoman epic there. But for those who watched these movies just looking for boobs, this is the one that delivers by having many topless prop women in the boat casino, on the porn set and in a mansion party. They had to do something I guess, because there’s not much of the personality that made the other two movies fun. There’s barely even any Hollywood Boulevard footage, other than this scene of goofy rapper/beatboxers credited as “Bebop Bedlam”:

Note the Suicidal Tendencies hat.

Part III doesn’t have the quirkiness or the heart of the previous two. The Angel we know and love didn’t need a real family, she made a family from her ragtag band of piss-ant vigilantes. She was part of a close-knit community of hookers, drag queens, street performers, fringe artists and nuts. This Angel doesn’t have that anymore, and even the local prostitutes don’t accept her. The closest thing to a weirdo she hangs out with in New York is this art gallery lady with the Vampira fashion sense:

On the west coast she seems like a total square, and less take-charge than before. She even has handsome Kin Shriner protecting her. There are no returning characters besides Angel. There’s only mention of Solly (her mom knew Solly would take care of her when she was abandoned). There’s some guy named Spanky (Mark Blankfield, star of THE JERK, TOO) who supposedly is an old friend from the Boulevard, I think maybe he was supposed to be a transvestite hooker like Mae, but I’m not sure. He’s not really a fun weirdo, just a vaguely flamboyant gay guy with lots of movie posters in his apartment. Oh, and since they drove around in a pet cemetery hearse for part 2 he has a wacky cartoon-character decorated ice cream truck for this one.

In the Ossie Davis cop slot they have Richard Roundtree in a few scenes.

Luckily Mitzi Kapture is another charming lady as Angel. But she doesn’t even really dress like Angel for the most part. She does get to drive fast and fire a gun at the end. It wasn’t necessarily a bad idea to have the bad guys be mansion-dwellers, because they could have a class warfare theme here. But since Angel doesn’t really seem to be of the streets anymore you don’t really see that clash. It’s just a pretty generic TV episode type of conflict.

Well, except she does one awesome thing at the very end. The main bad guy – I forget who he is exactly but he had a mustache – has some girl hostage. I think he already killed her sister (possible spoiler). Angel pulls a Leatherface and sticks a hook in his back, but this is high in the rafters of a warehouse. Then she kicks him away from the catwalk and he dangles high above, firing off his gun. And it’s a real stunt. That made watching until the end well worth my time. Other than that scene this one really doesn’t live up to the misleading tagline “Angel spent years making men happy. Now it’s time to make them pay.”

Overall, this is a disappointing final chapter, but hopefully the last one is better.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 27th, 2014 at 1:27 pm and is filed under Action, Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

25 Responses to “Angel III: The Final Chapter”

  1. You should now review all 110 episodes of ANGEL.

  2. This movie has its ups and downs, but it did have the immortal line, “This is the United Fucking States of America! We don’t car bomb people!”

    Sadly, Angel 4 is a notch or two below this one.

  3. OMEN 111: THE FINAL CONFLICT is also a great conclusion to a five part series.

  4. If I’m not mistaken, the art gallery vampire lady is Toni Basil of Hey Mickey fame. Yep, imdb confirms it.

  5. Toni Basil is also in Rockula, which Vern mentioned in his review. Therefore, he must review that movie as well as many other movies featuring Dean Cameron (Chainsaw from Summer School, Pizza Guy in Men at Work).

    And a Punky Brewster grown-up movie would be heaven. You could even fin a way to make it an Angel series reboot by having Punky help a young girl who is out on the streets after being left behind by a mother who turns out to be Punky’s asshole mom.

  6. The continuity/timeline issues remind me of the FRIDAY THE 13TH movies which are all set in the 1980s yet according to the plots, one entry takes place a decade after the previous entry, another 5 years, etc. (And nevermind that #5 was later retconned out since Jason was cremated in that one, then in #6 the movie opens on his grave.)

  7. Angel’s career change from law student to photographer wasn’t nearly as abrupt as the mischief she gets into in part 5: ANGEL’S IN THE OUTFIELD.

    Joking aside, Disney’s ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD had one of the weakest marketing slogans I’ve ever seen: “It could happen.” It’s so non-committal, only slightly more enthusiastic than: “Here’s some stuff” and “We filmed this.”

    ANoniMouse: Toni Basil also choreographed David Byrne’s unforgettable “dancing” in the Once In A Lifetime video.

  8. A throwaway line about Jason being cremated is the least of the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise’s continuity problems. (I mean, did you see an urn? With Jason, you gotta double-check that shit.) This is a series about a kid who drowned in a lake who stayed a rotting child corpse for 25 years, then came out of the water and grew up in a month, then was apparently alive again, despite being impervious to grievous injury, then died, then was replaced by a moony-eyed moron in a knockoff mask, then was brought back to life as a zombie, then got dragged back into the lake a couple times, once by the ghost of a telekinetic teenager’s father, then went to New York and got turned back into a child by radioactive waste, then was revealed to be a body-possessing hell slug, then went to space and moved to Earth 2, then was rescued from hell by Freddy back on Earth 1, then got rebooted into a boring tunnel-digging enthusiast. It’s a series with more continuity errors than actual continuity. And that’s why it’s the king.

  9. Never seen the FRIDAY remake. Apparently everybodys hating it. How the hell could they possibly fuck up the simplest of concepts?

    1) A bunch of irritating kids partying alone in the woods with gratuitous nudity ensuing.

    2) A guy in a hockeymask killing them in gory fashions.

    It is simple. Explain how it is possible.

  10. 1. The kills were boring. The best one is a girl getting stabbed in the top of the head. No imagination whatsoever, which is an insult to a series that was so crucial to the development of modern gore effects.

    2. The changes to Jason’s MO (turning him into a kidnapper survivalist who built an elaborate system of tunnels around Crystal Lake) make him less distinctive and primal and more like just a standard-issue crazy guy living in the woods.

    3. It could’t decide if it was a self-aware campfest or a gritty reboot, so the competing tones cancelled each other out.

    4. Marcus Gispel still can’t light a movie to save his life. It’s like he thinks the cost of light bulbs come out of his salary.

    5. Iconic moments like the beheading of Jason’s mother and the discovery of the hockey mask are glossed over in the most perfunctory fashion possible. I know in FRIDAY III he just took the mask of a victim, like he does in the remake, but they didn’t know then that they were creating one of the signature horror villains in history at the time. The remakers know what that mask means, and yet they still didn’t put any elbow grease into that moment at all.

    6. Jason goes out like a chump, only to come right back for a lame shock ending that you can see coming a mile away. A particular disappointment, since I consider the last shock in the original FRIDAY to be the best single jump scare in horror cinema.

    I hated it in the theater with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns, but I watched it again a couple years later and found it mostly mediocre, but with a few decent moments. It’s got a dynamic opening (common in Gispel movies, which usually start well before descending into clumsily shot narrative slop), some truly splendid nudity, and the corpse/survivor ratio doesn’t shake out exactly the way you’d think it would. A director who gave a shit might have made something of it. And I still want that rebootquel where it’s set in winter. It’s weird that I’ve seen Jason in hell, on Elm Street, in Times Square, and in space, but never in snow. Fitting, I guess, for somebody I met at summer camp.

    Also somebody needs to remake JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, only with more than 10 minutes of it set in actual New York this time.

    I just want more Jason, goddammit. I go more than five years without a new installment, I start getting the shakes.

  11. For some reason I kept calling Marcus Nispel “Gispel,” which I consider an homage to the lack of care and consideration he puts into his films. What a horrible director.

  12. Did you see the ELM STREET remake, Majestyk?

    Optimistic after really enjoying LORDS OF SALEM, I decided to finally watch both of Zombie’s HALLOWEENs. You phrase “mostly mediocre” is pretty apt.

  13. I think Zombie’s second HALLOWEEN movie is really underrated. Whereas most of his filmography betrays an unhealthy (and kinda boring) fascination with nihilism for its own sake, HALLOWEEN II 2.0 displays a real sympathy for the victims and survivors of violence that makes it a much more emotional experience than the average slasher movie. Coupled with an analog surrealism and a great cast, it’s a unique little movie that’s hobbled by its association with a franchise it doesn’t have much connection to.

    I skipped the ELM STREET remake because there wasn’t a single shot in the trailer that wasn’t recreated from the original film. For better or worse, the FRIDAY remake at least attempted to do its own thing. It came up with its own images, even if they weren’t very interesting or visible.

  14. I skipped ELM STREET too for the same reason. Great casting choice for the lead, though.

    Who would have thought that MY BLOODY VALENTINE would be the one remake that seems to have enjoyed the best reputation?

  15. I thought THE DEVILS REJECTS was one of the few memorable horror movies taht I remember from the last decade. I found Zombie´s movie and its complete lack of morality morbidly entertaining with some sick humour to boot. It certainly (for me at least) was proof you don´t have to have the usual Hollywood good guy bad guy dichotomy when presenting opposites in a movie.

    Also, William Forsythe is really good in it, but the real scene stealer is of course Sid Haig as Captain Spaudling. Call me a depraved sicko fucko, but the scene when he hijacks P.J Soles car and is scaring the shit out of her kid is hilarious. But i am pretty sure I am alone on that.

  16. Really? That one left me cold. It’s okay, but it’s got a great opening that promises way more carnage than the movie, a lame whodunnit that doesn’t add up if you think about it for two seconds, can deliver. It’s made by the same team as DRIVE ANGRY, and it has a similar unearned “Aren’t we being so OUTRAGEOUS here? I can’t believe they let us get away with this stuff! I mean, BOOBIES, amirite?” vibe. The gore looks really CGI to me, too. But at least it had the good sense to shove the 3D effects in my face and not attempt to be subtle (translation: pointless) like so many of the films that followed it.

    Off the top of my head, I can think of at least six recent-ish 70s/80s horror remakes that are better: MANIAC, HILLS HAVE EYES, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, PIRANHA, DAWN OF THE DEAD, FRIGHT NIGHT, possibly HALLOWEEN, depending on what mood I’m in, plus maybe WILLARD and BLACK CHRISTMAS, which are at about the same level.

    I think MY BLOODY VALENTINE’s reputation is elevated because it was the first movie of the 3D renaissance, so it had some novelty going for it at the time. Also it was able to stand more on its own, since it’s not like most people have very strong feelings about the original, although I think it has an interesting setting and nice sense of lived-in working-class atmosphere, something the SCREAM-level slickness of the remake completely lost.

  17. I was responding to Jareth, not Shoot.

  18. If we’re talking remakes, I think the HILLS HAVE EYES remake is probably the best of the horror remakes of the last 15 years or so.

  19. I’m going with MANIAC, because it’s the only one that is just flat-out in every category (except the underrepresented “Does Tom Savini explode his own head in it?” category) better than the original. The remake’s visual conceit of putting you in the head of the killer makes you feel sympathy for him and, somewhat ironically, for his victims. It turns the male gaze of the stereotypical slasher movie POV shot into a forced and largely unwelcome complicity with the killer’s crimes and psychosis. Like Elijah Wood’s character, you’re being dragged toward these horrible yet inevitable murders by forces beyond your control, making the lead up to the violence almost unbearably suspenseful. The original is a well made and disturbing exploitation film, but it’s still just a geek show. It lacks the remake’s human aspect.

  20. Majestyk: I’m basing that observation strictly on internet chatter. Probably not the best idea.

    Of the movies you listed, I’ve only seen the Zombie HALLOWEENs (which I enjoyed a few scattered moments of) and the Snyder DAWN OF THE DEAD (which I disliked), as well as the HILLS HAVE EYES remake, which I liked. I also saw the EVIL DEAD remake, which I’m utterly indifferent toward (unlike a buddy who had a t-shirt made up that says: NO ASH? NO DEAL).

    I get your point about the MY BLOODY VALENTINE guys: in the past you’ve been hilariously outspoken about the same empty posturing on the part of those doofuses who made RUN BITCH RUN and NUDE NUNS WITH GUNS. Your description of MY BLOODY VALENTINE probably ensures that I’ll never sit through it. Life’s too short to repeat that BITCH SLAP douche-fest fiasco.

    As far as recent mainstream horror goes, I don’t think anyone has topped SILENT HILL, but I don’t expect anyone to agree with me on that.

  21. It’s not as bad as all that, but there’s one scene with a naked woman running around in a parking lot for like 10 straight minutes that I’m sure they thought was the height of transgression. (I’ll never understand why, if they were determined to go that route, they didn’t pick a big-breasted woman, if only to take advantage of the 3D.) Mostly it’s just a slick, marginal slasher movie with a terrible reveal. It’s fine. I’ve seen it twice and I don’t hate it. I was just surprised to hear that it had a better reputation than a bunch of far more interesting movies.

  22. Maybe it’s reputation isn’t especially good; maybe it simply benefits from the negative hyperbole directed at most of the other remakes.

    I also realize that I might be confusing some of what people said about MY BLOODY VALENTINE with what they said about that PIRANHA 3D thing. I know a guy who loved both equally and is always hard on me for preferring humourless stuff like ILS (THEM) and MARTYRS.

    Speaking of parking lots: that scene in the second Zombie HALLOWEEN in the hospital parking lot shot in the rain was really nicely done.

  23. I enjoyed MY BLOODY VALENTINE when I saw it in the theater. In fact, I enjoyed it a lot. But, like you said, Majestyk, it was all about the 3D. On it’s own merit, the movie is blah, but it’s probably my favorite movie to have seen in 3D. I think 3D should only be used for violent and bloody destruction. I don’t care about it unless a knife is thrusting at me or blood is splattering me. I will regret until my dying day not seeing PIRANHA in 3D.

  24. I have a tough time calling a remake “better” than the original, simply by virtue of it being a remake. I think of it more in terms of “have they earned the privilege of a do-over?” The original MANIAC is so perfectly sleazy, it’s the gold standard for capturing that grimy late 70s/early 80s New York vibe. The MANIAC remake has a different feel but it’s great on it’s own terms for the reasons Majestyk listed.

    Of the high-profile horror remakes, ELM STREET is probably the worst. It’s slicker and more expensive and faux-grittier, but there isn’t a drop of creativity in the entire movie. I always think about that scene where Freddy pushes through the sheet of latex in Nancy’s bedroom. In the remake it’s soullessly replicated with CG only for it look considerably worse. That’s pretty much the entire film in a nutshell.

    FRIDAY THE 13TH was a real disappointment. When I heard they were talking about making Jason Voorhees a survivalist type I thought it was an interesting take, but it seemed like it was only there so they could add in some kidnapping and torture. The kills were the same old “Jason appears behind someone and chops them with a machete”. But now he teleports everywhere by tunnels, guys! Problem solved!

    The 3D in PIRANHA wasn’t the most technically accomplished, but it’s still my all-time favourite 3D movie experience.

  25. I saw the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake in theaters no less, why? because I suspected there’d be lots of boobies and since I was finally old enough at that time to see an R rated movie by myself, no way was I gonna turn up the opportunity to see boobies on the big screen shown for more than a few seconds

    and low and behold it delivered on that front very well, it’s just too bad the rest sucked, I mean it was watchable I guess, but bland

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