Friday, August 24, 2012
Movie Review (#1): Nude Nuns With Big Guns
Nude Nuns With Big Guns (directed by Joseph Guzman, written by Robert James Hayes II, and starring Asun Ortega)
So, speaking of pulp and exploitation...? Yeah, we're gonna be looking at some of that today. You probably didn't already realize that from the movie title and poster - that's why I was careful to fill you in like that. Thoughtful, that's me.
To put simply, this is a movie that is almost painfully dedicated to fulfilling its premise - by my count, the first nude nuns are onscreen inside of 60 seconds of the beginning of the movie (barely, but it still counts!), and you should have no fear of encountering any shortage of them thereafter. Hey, a film doesn't earn the personal endorsement of Danny Trejo for nothing.
You see, a bunch of Evil Catholic Priests (with the help of an Evil Mother Superior) are running cocaine to a gang of Evil Mexican Bikers, with the nuns being made to handle the preparation of the stuff. And as you might remember from for instance American Gangster, the girls doing that have to be in the buff to make sure they don't make off with any of the product (this accounts for the aforementioned first appearance of the titular (hurr hurr - "titular") nude nuns). Except in this case, they naturally keep their nun veils (you know, those funky nun hats) on. Because otherwise how would you know that they were nude nuns? Logic!
Our hero, Sister Sarah, gets her heroic beginning when she makes a singularly inept attempt to steal a key of coke from the Evil Bikers that gets her immediately found out (though not without getting one of her completely blameless sisters killed in the process!) and then handed over to the Evil Bikers by the Evil Priests so she can be doped up and forced into prostitution. Well, okay - so that's not a very heroic beginning.
No, her true heroic beginning comes when she's given such a massive dose of heroin that she hears God speaking to her, telling her to kill everyone for justice. You know, the way He does. When the hippie/doctor who administers the heroin for the bikers hears this, he does the natural thing that any of us would and hands the Nude Nun a pair of Big Guns. Which she immediately uses to murder the man who just (inexplicably) helped her. And thus, her campaign of frequently naked vengeance against all the priests and bikers who wronged her begins!
And oh, what a Roaring Rampage of Revenge it is. Except that it's mostly not. This movie tries its hardest to fulfill the Exploitation archetype to its fullest, but this is the item on its checklist it falters most in marking off. Acres of nude female flesh? Check. Softcore rape? Check. Nunsploitation angle nunsploited to the fullest possible extent? Check. Lesbianism... oh yeah, did I mention that Sister Sarah (the heroic Nude Nun, remember) is also a lesbian? Because of course she is. So check! But bloodsplattered badass action scenes? ...Eh. Sure, the film makes an effort - it's just that through a lack of either budget or imagination (or both), the actual Bloody Vengeance scenes mostly fail to actually thrill. I don't know if a gunfight can ever actually be called sedate, but a number of the ones here seem to be out to test the thesis.
Further, they tend to get spaced out more than you'd likely expect from a film that puts "Big Guns" right in the title. Instead, we get scenes like one where we spend some time with the Evil Mexican Bikers (don't get the wrong idea from that, by the way - they have a black member too! who is their designated rapist. so clearly not racist!) as they encounter an American family who drop into the auto repair shop they use as a front a la Sons of Anarchy. Y'know, this One Big Happy Family you can see here in a behind the scenes shot:
Naturally, nothing but good things happen for them in this encounter:
Does this scene advance our plot? Nah. So what are its functions in the film? I'm glad I had you ask that, imaginary interlocutor! Because really, this all has only two points. One, to remind us that the Evil Bikers are in fact Evil Bikers. That's something the film takes very seriously, by the way - at a later point the Evil Biker Leader helpfully admonishes his minions (and of course us, the viewers) "remember - we're the bad guys!". Thanks, Evil Biker! If you hadn't said that, I probably would have forgotten. And the second point? Why, to give us a good look at some exposed pseudo-jailbait titties, of course (oh yeah - check!).
Still, the film does eventually come to its bloody climax as Sister Sarah produces an old-school Tommy gun from a never explained source (but as if anyone watching really cares) and launches a full scale assault on all the still-surviving Evil Bikers at their brothel/alternate HQ. To rescue her lesbian nun lover who's currently being softcore raped by the Evil Biker Leader upstairs. Of course. Still, this is definitely the best action sequence in the movie, and the film makes its best effort to (with true exploitation logic) balance out any possible prior misogyny in the movie by having the Evil Biker Leader's cock graphically blown right off. No, seriously - we see the severed thing lying there on the floor, and then the guy actually picks it up and stares at it as he wails in what seems to be as much existential agony as physical pain. And then the nuns blow him away execution style, naturally.
So that (aside from a concluding scene to set the potential for a sequel) is Nude Nuns in a nutshell. So what's the verdict? If you're looking for an absolutely shameless exploitation flick that aims to titillate and offend as much as it's capable, you're probably going to find your money's worth here. If that sounds abhorrent to you... then hell, congratulations to you on making it all the way to the end of the review. You earned 'em, buddy.
To check it out for yourself:
P.S.: Up before midnight! Technically still counts as a Friday update!