Fit To Kill

cast: Dona Speir, Roberta Vasquez, Bruce Penhall, R.J. Moore, and Julie Strain

writer and director: Andy Sidaris

97 minutes (R) 1993
BCI Eclipse NTSC DVD Region 1 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Jeff Young

After bemusements of the opening’s field-training exercise (who’re those masked men?), with its paintball mock-combat stalking and test flight of a remote control model helicopter, undercover federal agents Donna Hamilton and Nicole Justin (Dona Speir, Roberta Vasquez, respectively) get berated by their operations chief Lucas (Tony Peck) for generally lax attitudes to security, and goofing about when they must be “alert at all times” – even during war games.

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Suitably chastised, our heroes get back on duty with no more prep than a compulsory change of clothes.

Glamorous assassin Blu Steele (Julie Strain, here making her debut for Mr Sidaris) fails, apparently, to execute onetime criminal mastermind Martin Kane (played by R.J. Moore, alias of Geoffrey Moore, son of 007 icon Roger). At a briefing for Donna & Co, we learn of a Chinese-American plan to safely return a priceless diamond to Russian bloke Mikael Petrov (Sidaris company’s resident everyman, Rodrigo Obregón), and it soon becomes clear enough that the mighty Alexa rock – originally stolen by some greedy Nazis – is targeted for robbery by the scheming Kane. At a swanky party, where Kane dances with Donna (“a condemned man’s last wish”), and Edy Stark (stunning Cynthia Brimhall) sings Make Believe, said diamond is promptly stolen by Kane with judicious help from the aforementioned Ms Steele. Can our team of lethal ladies, and their male sidekicks – such as Shane Abilene (Michael J. Shane) and hapless Bruce Christian (Bruce Penhall) – outwit the vengeful and sneaky bad guys?

“In America, anything is possible.”

Handling talky exposition, including clips from Hard Hunted, and flashbacks to 1943 (featuring some WWII stock footage), writer-director Andy Sidaris gives us the lowdown on Fit To Kill with an admirable skill for such a low-budget movie. If it’s not a cheesy slapstick routine in the background, or a well-timed quip, it’s simply the bra-bursting presence of multiple Playboy/ Penthouse lovelies in a scene that prevents the necessary evil of plot-establishing dialogues from becoming even slightly dull, let alone actually boring. Radio hostess Ava Cadell is on hand again, for her usual hands-on role as the heroes’ sultry communications officer, the luscious Carolyn Liu appears as deepest undercover agent Silk, and Fit To Kill is the kind of inventive action film where the crooks hire thoroughly incompetent hitmen – named Evel (Chu Chu Malave) and Kenevil (Richard Cansino), because the chaotic mishaps they bring to the scenario are just as effective against the heroes’ organisation as more proficient mayhem! Meanwhile, in one of the picture’s many agreeably post-feminist twists, Ava’s resident hot-tub blonde assistant, Sandy (Sandra Wild), is a far better gunslinger than the supposed action men around her.

Although a pawn shop heist inadvertently results in the loss of a vital tracking bug, which consequently diverts the heroes’ attention from their urgent mission, and the sights and sounds of statuesque Ms Strain’s love scene with Kane’s yacht skipper (“anchor’s aweigh!” she gasps), contribute offbeat action, diversionary humour and cheerful eroticism (other sex-fantasy daydreams break up the ‘real’ ongoing plot) to the typically sensational mise en scène, there’s no mistaking this lively production for anything else but the familiar Sidaris mix of ‘bullets, bombs and babes’.

If you object to filmmakers having fun with genre clichés or so obviously enjoying their work, then Andy Sidaris’ flicks probably won’t be to your taste. If, however, you’re looking for some engagingly light-hearted entertainments to please red-blooded action-film aficionados, then you will not find any better value for money DVD packs on this planet, or any other.

DVD extras: audio commentary, bite-sized chunks of behind-the-scenes material (including a ‘film school’ featurette, and a brief interview with Sidaris – conducted by Joe Bob Briggs), production stills, text biographies, and trailers.