Malibu Express

cast: Darby Hinton, Sybil Danning, Art Metrano, Shelley Taylor Morgan, and Brett Clark

writer and director: Andy Sidaris

103 minutes (R) 2002
Malibu Bay / Ventura DVD Region ‘0’ retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Jeff Young

Cody (Darby Hinton) is a moustachioed Texas private eye living in California. He can’t shoot straight and yet he usually succeeds with the ladies, anyway, but this is very probably because he’s somewhat wealthy and just happens to own a motor yacht called the ‘Malibu Express’. While investigating a murder in the household of Lady Lillian Chamberlain (Niki Dantine), Cody uncovers a plot masterminded (if that’s the word) by conman Johnathan Harper (Les Steinmetz) to sell American computer tech to the Soviets, and he’s aided on the case by tough blonde cop Beverly (Lori Sutton), and the mysterious Contessa Luciana (Sybil Danning in fluorescent red dresses or less), who is secretly a top US agent. There’s a blackmail subplot involving the pretty Chamberlain daughters Anita and Liza (Shelley Taylor Morgan, Lorraine Michaels), both seduced by hunky butler, Shane (Brett Clark), who is struggling to payoff his gambling debts.
Although its pace is somewhat lethargic at times, this amiable crime adventure has wisecracking, tongue-in-cheek dialogue and works as a simplistic parody of glam soaps likeDynasty and Dallas, and offers a vague impersonation of action shows like Miami Vice and Magnum. The Chamberlain family home is a hotbed of sexual intrigue (including a transvestite and a video-voyeur), and this movie also benefits from the usual Sidaris styled, topless distractions like racing driver June Khnockers (played enthusiastically by Lynda Wiesmeier) so, even if they really ought to have given Sybil Danning more to do in the film (bit of a missed opportunity, there!), Malibu Express is delightfully trashy and rather good fun, overall. I can assure you this will prove to be much more entertaining if you have killed at least 100 million brain-cells (with multiple double-vodkas, or whatever) before viewing.
The sideshow appearance of speed-freak hillbilly family the Buffingtons is, I think, a crude and unbearably dumb stereotyping joke that is repeated once too often, and yet a cameo by director Sidaris as a rubbernecking motor-home driver works better, surprisingly. Trivia note: Christian Drew Sidaris is assistant/ 2nd unit director on this film, and (as a racing driver himself) oversees all the driving stunts – which is a neat reversal of that old chestnut about borrowing dad’s car!
One important thing about the DVD releases in this Sidaris range of “bullets, bombs and babes” flicks is that the producers make sure every disc is fully loaded with extras. For such low-budget offerings, these packages are setting a standard that very few DVD labels whether genre, classic or art-house can match. Here, we get video profiles of Suzi Simpson (co-star of Enemy Gold) and Cynthia Brimhall (from Guns), another featurette in the Andy Sidaris Film School series, gallery of stills, interviews, commentary track by the director with producer Arlene Sidaris, a dozen trailers, and printed booklet with some rare picture and poster artwork.