Thursday, January 7, 2010
a.k.a. Tortured Angels
Director: Roy Rosenberg writer: Gary Capra Jr. Cast: Susan Lee, Stella Jones, Laura Sode, George Bill
I'm pretty sure all the anglicized credits on this Asso Asia Films teenage soap opera were invented by the Hong Kong based distribution company to boost international sales. They were notorious for selling cheap redubbed product in the west and this film contains one of their strangest attempts to entice the English speaking market - more on that later.
Strike of the Tortured Angels is a convoluted mess that begins with feisty new fish Susan thrown into a hardcore detention center where inmates haze the fresh meat until a rebellious mud fight breaks out. It doesn't take long before a love triangle/revenge story flashbacks into frame and we are forced to make a u-turn towards snoozeville.
Susan, along with a pet pig and two other inmates escape so she can blackmail and kill the doctor who forced her sister to have an abortion (which resulted in suicide) and is currently bangin' her mother to further his career.
Presumably to bolster international sales, a sub plot involves one of the escapees named Julie who has been diagnosed with TB, has troubles with her rockstar boyfriend and is being hounded by the sympathetic prison doctor. Are you ready for this? The character is played by an Asian girl in blackface with a fake afro!
Before you send hate mail or get excited, I don't believe the production team had minstrel aspirations. The character is not played as a stereotype and one gets the impression the filmmakers believed they needed an actress from the Pam Grier mold for a commercial W.I.P. film. My guess is they couldn't find a black actress in Hong Kong that would work on such a low rent movie so they made their own. The makeup is pretty offensive but the freakish novelty wears off quickly.
Thankfully, Strike of the Tortured Angels only has one quick nude scene. These girls are very young and some of the scantily clad shots were making me uncomfortable. There are some pretty abrupt cuts around some suggestive scenes so there may be a more revealing print in some foreign markets with seedier child labor laws. I won't be searching for it. The version I watched is available on the Grindhouse Experience box set transferred from a crappy VHS print complete with Danish subtitles.