Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oh, Brother: "The Retrievers" (1984)

Max Thayer is Tom, who is recruited by a secret government agency to place wiretaps. The wiretappers are retired, so Tom becomes a Retriever, part of an elite force that retrieves people for the company's gain. He helps retrieve Danny (Lenard Miller), but Tom has had enough of the violence, and spares Danny's sister Janice (Shawn Hoskins). Turns out Danny wrote an expose on being in the company, and Tom and Janice run around trying to get the book published with the rest of the Retrievers hot on their tails.

This film is horribly violent. Not full of action or adventure, but violent just to be mean and violent. I can handle violence in films if it wasn't for the fact that this movie is also badly done.

Badly written? Sure, but I am talking about handheld camera shots that had my stomach turning. I am talking about introducing a fat character just for the tuba on the soundtrack and the laughs from how huge he is. I am talking about the shootings of unemployed drunks in one scene, and the credit "wetbacks" in the closing credits. I am talking about Katey Sagal singing one of the worst movie songs of all-time, save the disco theme from "Deathcheaters". I am talking about spotting a boom microphone or its shadow not once, not twice, but three different times. I am talking about an opening scene that has a gunman plow down a children's birthday party, killing adults and kids.

Elliott Hong's direction is terrible. The fight scenes are so poorly choreographed, I was giggling as henchmen and heroes rarely connected on their fake punches, yet still fell back injured. The cast is awful, all the villains meld together and look alike. Max Thayer is a weak leading man,but he is given a part that no one could play. Sure, Tom helped kidnap Danny, but Janice falls in love with him anyway. The two take their book to guerrilla publisher Maria (Roselyn Royce), who eerily resembles Pamela Anderson. The movie takes so many leaps in logic I just sat back, stunned for most of this thing.

"The Retrievers" is just plain awful. There are no redeeming moments, plot points, or characters. Unless you are a young film maker who needs to know what NOT to do, you will want to skip it. (*) out of five stars.