Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Seasons of Sleaze, Part II

While Hardcore is more cerebral, Vice Squad is a more visceral look into the Hollywood sex underworld, specifically pimps and prostitutes.

Season Hubley plays a sex worker in both pictures. In Vice Squad, she plays a surburban mom who for some reason goes to work as a freelance Hollywood street hustler -- named Princess. The premise turns out to be unnecessary as the film really isn't about her having a dual life, but rather about her helping the police catch a brutal pimp who has murdered one of his girls. The problem is, because of the premise, Hubley is never really dressed like a hooker. Still, Hubley gives a fine performance.

The other obvious flaw in Vice Squad is the pimp. Ramrod is a white Cowboy with all the trimmings -- western shirts, boots, 4x4 with custom paint job. Now asking an audience to believe in a white Cowboy pimp is a lot for a film or an actor to overcome. But Wings Hauser actually makes it work, turning the unlikely Ramrod into a truly intense and frightening villian. Unfortuantely, I don't know if giving a great performance in a low-budget exploitation movie as a white pimp is something you can add to your demo reel. But Wings Hauser can act, damn it!

Good pacing and the performances of the two leads will help you get past the way Princess the hooker dresses, the Cowboy-style pimp, and the uninteresting supporting cast, because once the battle between Ramrod and Princess is on, it's on like Donkey Kong.

Vice Squad list:

  • Ramrod vs. Princess
  • Pimp Stick (and you thought Mommie Dearest was the master of the wire hanger)
  • Fred Berry as a Sugar Pimp
  • Black male undercover cop with braided hair with beads in it, like Venus Williams.
  • Rich old man with weird marriage/funeral fetish
  • Extremely painful comic relief
  • Bit by Stack Pierce
  • Blink and you'll miss Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith in one of her last film roles
  • No Reb Brown (unlike Hardcore)
Some of the writing team would mine this vein for more with the (not as good) Angel series.

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