Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Feel Stripped of My Video Rental Fee: "Caged Heat II: Stripped of Freedom" (1994)

Sometimes, even women-in-prison flicks are so bad, the promise of sadistic guards and gratuitous shower scenes are not enough to combat the ineptitude of the director, in this case, one Cirio H. Santiago. Santiago is an awful director. Truly awful. I have seen a few of his potboilers in my day, and they were all low points in my life, right down there with my divorce and various deaths in the family.

Amanda (Jewel Shepard) is a CIA agent posing as the mistress of a Southeast Asian monarch (Ramon D'Salva). The king is shot and his hot princess daughter Marga (Chanel Akiko Hikai) is hauled off to an island prison to await a trial and certain execution. Except, the assassination was fake! Hooray!

The king gets royally ticked about his daughter being taken, and threatens Amanda's boss Carl (Ed Crick) with big press conferences and tattle-telling if Marga is not rescued. Lo and behold, Amanda has a new assignment: go to the prison and break Marga out.

Amanda hides some blow in her suitcase and is arrested, along with porn smuggler Lucy (Susan Harvey) and both go to the big house. The warden (Vic Diaz) is busy banging scary Paula (Pamella D'Pella) so she can feed her dope habit. Amanda is strip searched and tossed in with the other inmates, all of whom are under twenty five years of age and cute. Whenever I watch women's prison reports on MSNBC's Doc Block, the female inmates are normally three hundred pound toothless lesbians with the four children by four different fathers anxiously awaiting their release, so incarceration here looks pretty good. The cells are larger than my apartment and, after Marga arrives, the escape attempt is on!

Wait, we are barely thirty minutes in, so the attempt fails. Amanda and Paula break out in wrestling matches all the time, while Marga pouts and Lucy wonders why, exactly, her character is even in the film. Carl plans another escape attempt, but Amanda is ordered to leave Marga and Lucy behind.

Coming from New Horizons Home Video, you know this film was never destined for Oscar greatness. Jewel Shepard has written about her life as a B movie actress, and always seemed to have a sense of humor about the schlock she appeared in. In this movie, unfortunately, she is awful. Her only emotion is "pissy," and she delivers all her lines through clenched teeth while glaring at other characters. The rest of the cast is even worse.

The screenplay is so bad, I could write a book. Santiago's direction is purely Santiagoan, i.e. awful. There are plenty of bored shootouts and fights, but the film is seriously lacking in the skin department. Sure, we have some topless scenes here and there, but even the shower room scene has the actresses wearing bikini bottoms or towels.

"Caged Heat II: Stripped of Freedom" is an absolute flop. Sorry, ladies, no early release for you. (*) out of five stars.