Sunday, November 29, 2015

Seven (1979)

AIP released what is probably the least personal film of director/producer Andy Sidaris’ career, his second. Whereas his first movie, STACEY!, was a straightforward action movie punctuated by occasional nude scenes, and his third, MALIBU EXPRESS, would further hone the mixture of “boobs, bullets, and bombs” that would make his 1980s softcore adventures staples of home video and cable television, SEVEN is an elaborate adventure boasting a reasonably professional cast, a sprawling storyline, and lush Hawaiian locations.

Don’t worry — SEVEN is still definitely a Sidaris movie, and that means plenty of gorgeous top-heavy women on display, as well as corny jokes, an unnecessarily convoluted plot, and elaborate methods of murder. Sidaris liked the killer skateboarder and the sex doll so much that he repeated them in his HARD TICKET TO HAWAII.

Burly William Smith, just before replacing James MacArthur on the execrable final season of HAWAII FIVE-0 (the supporting cast is dotted with frequent FIVE-0 bit players), plays government agent Drew Savano, summoned to Hawaii to stop an army of seven assassins who plan to take over the state by murdering its political leaders. Drew’s plan is to recruit his own army of seven and assign each member his or her own enemy to kill during a tight half-hour window two days hence.

Drew’s wildly disparate crew includes a sexy helicopter pilot (Vampirella model Barbara Leigh), a redneck (CARTER COUNTRY’s Guich Koock), a scientific genius (Sidaris regular Richard LaPore and his high rug), a karate expert (the great Ed Parker playing himself!), a jive-talking black guy (Christipher Joy from CLEOPATRA JONES), and a stand-up comic (mustachioed Art “Da da da da da” Metrano). Sidaris’ story also allows Sidaris the producer to pay Smith for only a few days work, since much screen time is handed over to each supporting character as they set up and enact their assassination plans. Smith probably says more dialogue via voiceover than on-screen.

The action scenes are typically Sidarisian, involving complex mechanical gadgetry and exotic vehicles, as well as plenty of exploding blood packets and a silly-funky musical score. Smith seems looser than usual, no doubt a result of a paid Hawaiian vacation and the presence of a pulchritudinous supporting cast of ladies, including Susan Kiger (ANGELS’ BRIGADE), Leigh (TERMINAL ISLAND), and Carol Needham. Originally intended by Sidaris to be a vehicle for Burt Reynolds, SEVEN received a script polish by television vet Bill Driskill (COLUMBO) and financing from independent producer Melvin Simon (THE STUNT MAN), who chipped in a reported $2 million.


Grant said...

It also has the dancer Little Egypt. (I didn't know this for some time, but she's evidently a descendant of "the" Little Egypt, the dancer you hear about in those nostalgic jokes.) She plays (I'm guessing) adventure movies' only villainous hula dancer!
There's only one bit of bad news about that. As titillating as the movie sets out to be, and as titillating as Little Egypt is, she never gets to be an all-out femme fatale. (I know this isn't a Bond movie, and it isn't even TRYING to be, but a seduction scene between her and one of the leads would have made sense.)
Have you reviewed other Sidaris movies, or are you planning to?

Marty McKee said...

Ya know, I thought I had reviewed other Sidaris movies, but I just searched the blog and didn't find any. Well, to be accurate, I *have* written reviews of other Sidaris movies, but none of them have hit the blog. Maybe I will have to run the series one of these days. Most of his later films...anything after GUNS or thereabouts...I haven't seen at all, though I own every one of them, even STACEY!, which I've seen many times.

Grant said...

Thank you.
One that I like is THE DALLAS CONNECTION, which uses that "army of hot female assassins" idea that works in so many other films (like SOME GIRLS DO). And it mainly works in that one, although it can't resist also using the "GOLDFINGER" tradition of taking all the villainy OUT OF them toward the end, which I usually don't care for.

Felicity Walker said...

I saw several Andy Sidaris movies on Spike TV several years ago and enjoyed them. Two other recurring themes in a Sidaris movie: characters named “Abilene” and model aircraft.

Later Sidaris movies also had repeated use of Molokai, KSXY radio, and characters named “Silk,” but I won’t count those as I think they were supposed to be a form of continuity.