Rixflix A to Z: Angels' Revenge [Brigade] (1979)

Director/Co-Writer: Greydon Clark // Arista/New World; 1:37; Color
Cast Notables: Jack Palance, Peter Lawford, Jim Backus, Neville Brand, Pat Buttram, Arthur Godfrey, Alan Hale Jr. and a bunch of 70s-hot chicks...
Cinema 4 Rating: 2 (MST3K version only)

Here is the first film in my library of which I have never seen the real version of the film. I say this because the version I own is as an episode of the late, lamented Mystery Science Theatre 3000. While most of the MST3K releases (never enough of them, mind you) on DVD have been kind (or evil) enough to include the theatrical versions of the films that they lampoon, for some reason the second volume of the box sets neglected to do this for its faithful audience. Since this movie runs 97 minutes in its true version, I figure that leaves about 15-20 of atrocious acting and mind-numbingly dull action to which I have not had the opportunity to fall asleep.

I am not willing to pry into the utter desperation that
allowed (or rather, forced) personages such as Jack Palance, Peter Lawford, Jim Backus, Neville Brand, Pat Buttram, Arthur Godfrey, Alan Hale Jr. to feel they needed to be in this film, but I thank them, one and all. Without them, and the sadness they allow to pervade the proceedings, there would be nothing but a giant sinkhole full of the talentless to look at here. Obviously inspired by the jiggly TV detective show that also has Angels in its name (and in an incredibly inspired move on the part of creator Greydon Clark, his movie also bravely sports an apostrophe in its title, though its use as a possessive moves from singular to plural -- that is thinking man's marketing, there...), Angels' Brigade (known as Revenge on the MST3K version) ups the angel quotient by a full four fingers, and that is hardly as exciting as it sounds. Instead, we get what should be an R-rated tittie-tease but turns out to be PG-rated jumpsuited bumbling on an epic scale.

This exact same plot probably was also made into several dozen porn films -- and they were all probably better acted by their female leads than the seven featured here. It is not a surprise that one of the MST3K gang opines "I feel like Johnny Wadd is about to show up" at the beginning of the film. That is exactly the feeling one has watching this -- only instead of porn, which at its most dull is still eye-catching in an instinctual fashion, you are getting sub-television-style action with the Angels battling the drug lords of L.A. Sure, there's jiggle factor here, but at least when you watch television for it, you know it is only going to be a tease without the nudity -- in the movies, with its expanded canvas of depravity, you hope for a little bit more than tight jumpsuits and bad karate kicks.

Perhaps the MST3K people did me a solid by neglecting to put the real version of the film on their set. I do like the chance to see every film in its true form, but perhaps I should just count myself lucky that I can only see it slightly truncated -- and with funny robots.


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