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Angel of Destruction (1994)

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Score: 5/10

Genre: Action Running Time: 1 hr. 26 min.

Release Date: June 17th, 1994 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Charles Philip Moore Actors: Maria Ford, Charlie Spradling, Jessica Mark, Antonio Bacci, Chanda, Jimmy Broome, Bob McFarland

A

broad, hulking, blond, Terminator-like ex-soldier, professional mercenary, and martial arts psychopath named Bobby Kell (Jimmy Broome) hires a hooker before visiting a neighboring room to kill several old business associates. Unnecessarily, he returns minutes later to murder the prostitute as well. Later, he becomes obsessed with rock singer Delilah (Jessica Mark), performing at the Midnight Bell S&M club (with a frequently naked Reena Jacobs, played by Chanda, at her side) and sends a severed finger with his calling card – a ring – as a gift.

Assuming it’s a death threat, Delilah hires the highly recommended enforcer Brit Alwood (Charlie Spradling) for protection. Moments later, while Brit is on the phone with her sister Jo (Maria Ford), who happens to be undercover cop, Kell steps into Brit’s office and snaps her neck. Out for vengeance and possibly a few answers, Jo shadows the vocalist as Detective Aaron Sayles (Antonio Bacci), her boyfriend, searches for leads. The duo soon scours the town, interrogating Vietnam veterans who might know Bobby’s whereabouts.

Danny Marcus (James Paolelli), Delilah’s manager and abusive lover, starts causing problems for the talent when bigwig producer Sonny Luso (Bob McFarland) wants Delilah to change her bad girl image – and needs Danny to persuade her. Sonny stands to lose $2 million if she won’t see things his way, but could collect $1.5 million on an insurance policy if she winds up dead – which leads to an assassination attempt. But it’s thwarted by both Jo and, surprisingly, Kell, who is surely going out of his way to save Delilah for a sick and twisted fantasy finale.

Many scenes are simply an excuse to feature poorly choreographed martial arts fights, with instant replays and slow-motion for the more impressive moves and takedowns (the climax is actually a series of overlong hand-to-hand duels, gunfire, and explosions). Others are included just for the sake of female nudity, including multiple musical performances with strippers and topless singers, and an atmospheric, overactive sex scene. Ford cruises around in a sports bra or half a shirt and skintight pants of varying colors, while Delilah is content with just a bra. While these moments are present for only one reason, they stymie the sparsely entertaining serial killer bits – not that anyone will ever watch “Angel of Destruction” for its crime thriller merits. Credit is due, however, when the filmmakers opt to combine the two ideas into a topless fight between Maria Ford and a squadron of thugs.

Believe it or not, there is a gradually unfolding murder mystery hiding amongst the violence, sexuality, and stripping, involving the discovery of what makes Kell tick and the careful infiltration of his rusted boat, converted into a dungeon-like dwelling. Broome is actually a fairly convincing kook; too bad the surrounding actors and situations aren’t the least bit believable. Just as it becomes slightly more complex (keep in mind that this is a Maria Ford project produced by Roger Corman), the story switches direction to showcase more flesh. When Kell abducts Reena, his ransom demands are to have Jo perform naked onstage at the club. This, of course, is where her backstory of being a former stripper to make ends meet comes into play.

Also, laughably, countless tables are destroyed by bodies getting thrown across them, as just about every character is either taken out by a table, flipped onto such a surface, or smashed on top of one (during the conclusion, Ford is punched onto a makeshift table of crates), usually in slow-motion. But, at least, there’s action and nudity. As bad as it its, it’s probably safe to say (without having seen Maria Ford’s entire lineup of films) that “Angel of Destruction” is one of her best.

– Mike Massie

 

 

 

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