If you’re a fan of bad movies then you must know the name David A. Prior. 1987 was busy year for Prior – along with Deadly Prey and Aerobicide (also known as Killer Workout) he released a third film, Mankillers. If a low budget female homage to The Dirty Dozen with a little bit of Women in Prison films and Suicide Squad thrown in for good measure sounds like a good time, then Mankillers might just be the movie you need to get drunk and watch this weekend.
Rachel McKenna (Lynda Aldon) is an ex-CIA agent who almost died when her partner shot her in the chest. Now a full on evil bastard, John Mickland (Prior regular, William Zipp) snorts lots of coke and runs a sex trafficking operation. Though he pays cash for the women then trades the women for more coke, I’m not sure where he’s getting the money. All-in-All it seems like a relatively bad business plan. Anyway, the CIA have tried everything to stop Mickland, but to no avail. So they bring McKenna out of retirement to put a stop to him once and for all.
She wants revenge against the man who shot her, but she wants it on her terms. Her rules: She wants a team of all female convicts to train and lead into battle against Mickland and his sex crazed men. If the cons survive the attack they will be set free. So McKenna heads down to the nearest prison and picks out the 12 she thinks might make a good team. Only one of these women is give any kind of personality, Maria Rosetti (Christine Lunde), and she’s the sassy one. You know this cause she’s chewing bubble gum.
So we get an overly long training montage where the women mostly run and do jumping jacks in short shorts and tank tops. They go into battle in this garb as well. McKenna wants three more weeks to train her little army, but the man in charge gives her 12 hours. Then they’re dropped into Colombia to take on Mickland, and by Colombia I mean Riverside, where the film was actually shot.
The acting across the board in this films is pretty bad. Which in on par for Prior’s other films. The dialog is laughably bad at times and the film moves along at a snails pace. These are all Prior standards and the things that make his films so entertaining if you’re into that sort of thing.
The bad guys in this film are painted as irredeemably bad, which gets uncomfortable a few times. But it makes those character’s deaths all the more satisfying. The film lacks some of the creativity of Deadly Prey (no one gets beaten to death with their own arm), but it still has some wonderfully stilled low budget 80s action.
With sex traffickers as bad guys the film is very obviously sexist at times and those scenes can be hard to watch. At the same time, you have a bunch of cons fighting for their freedom. When McKenna gets kidnapped the remaining women think it best to just take off. But Maria, the gum chewing sassy one, riles them all up with a inspirational little speech about how McKenna gave them their self respect back and the women decided that’s worth fighting for and continue on. It’s honestly more of a message than one might expect from a low budget action film like this, but it’s nice that it’s included.
The film is “presented using the best available elements” which I think means an old VHS copy, as the image bounces around a few times. It very much makes you feel like you will need to rewind the film when you’re done and return it to your local video store. I also love that there was some very random New York Seltzer product placement in the film, especially since the carbonated beverage recently returned to store shelves.
The film is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio and Mono audio. This film looks okay, but it’s probably the best it’s going to look. Like I said, the video bounces around a couple times. But honestly, I kind of liked that.
Extras include: Trailer, Photo Gallery
David A. Prior is my second favorite bad filmmaker (next to Edward D. Wood Jr.) and I was very excited to watch Mankiller on blu-ray. If you know what you’re getting with Prior’s films then this one does not disappoint. If you haven’t seen Deadly Prey I would recommend you start there, but this one is a lot of fun too.
Martini Entertainment presents Mankillers. Written and Directed by: David A. Prior. Starring: Lynda Aldon and William Zipp. Running time: 85 min. Rating: Not Rated, but very much an R rated film for language, violence and brief nudity. Released on Blu-Ray: September 13, 2016.
Tags: David A. Prior, Dirty Dozen, Lynda Aldon, Mankillers, Suicide Squad, William Zipp