Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987)
Release Date: March 13th, 1987 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Andy Sidaris Actors: Ronn Moss, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Harold Diamond, Cynthia Brimhall, Patty Duffek, Lory Green
n the fantastical realm of Andy Sidaris’ films, women aren’t afraid to shower in front of one another, they never use bras, they’re always armed with firearms and throwing stars, they change outfits constantly (revealingly to boot), and they rarely remove their sunglasses. It’s partly an homage to serious, famous movie spies, but more insultingly it’s frequently self-comparative. The cast continually tries to measure up to James Bond, Emma Peel, Charlie Chan, and others, but they all fail miserably.
In Molokai, Hawaii, a monstrous snake infected by deadly toxins from cancer-infested rats gets loaded onto a cargo plane with a couple of sightseeing passengers and two beautiful pilots – Donna (Dona Speir), who is also a spy, and Taryn (Hope Marie Carlton), a witness protection civilian with combat skills. After the tourists are dropped off, the two girls stumble upon a special delivery from a diamond smuggler, Seth Romero (Rodrigo Obregon), who is using the island to receive stolen goods. Meanwhile, secret agents Rowdy (Ronn Moss) and Jade (Harold Diamond) are called in to gather intel, and later find themselves in the thick of the action. Fortunately for them, they carry a bazooka in the back of their Jeep, which comes in handy when they need to blast the occasional skateboarder or blow-up doll (that’s right – they use armor-piercing explosives to annihilate illogical threats). While in town, they also meet with undercover contact Edy Stark (Cynthia Brimhall), who provides little more than another tanned body and fodder for a hostage situation.
The dialogue is completely terrible, replete with corny one-liners (which are definitely expected) and pointless exposition. Conversations consist of dozens of wasted words, attempting to verbally report on every single thought, as if expressions and emotions are nonexistent or uncommunicative. If someone sees something, they describe it, despite the fact that viewers can see it too; if someone is thinking something, they say it, even though audiences are almost certainly thinking the same thing. As Donna and Taryn discover answers to the minimal mysteries, they verbosely spell them out for extra clarity (or annoyance). When they find a mutilated dead body, shown in fake, gory detail directly to the screen, they still discuss the visuals, as if squeamish viewers might have turned away.
“Hard Ticket to Hawaii” has its own theme song, which is mildly impressive, but the action and adventure are bland, which is unfortunate considering the reasonable budget and production value (although the vast number of busty women probably took up the majority of the funds). Even the martial arts fighting and explosions lack suspense, comparative to the villains that keep coming back after being shot, stabbed, bitten, harpooned, and more. With the Malibu Express boat making an appearance in the opening scene, along with a poster hanging in Donna’s room, it’s clear Sidaris doesn’t mind paying tribute to himself. No one else would find a reason to do so. The big rubber snake provides most of the humor, aside from the unintentional laughs caused by bad dialogue and worse acting, but a ridiculous Frisbee duel takes the cake for utterly nonsensical villain elimination. Credit is due, however, to the hopelessly cheesy finale, consisting of a motorcycle bursting through a house followed by a tuck and roll with a rocket launcher to take out the last remaining non-human antagonist.
– Mike Massie