Saturday, January 3, 2015
Rifftrax Presents Wonder Women...Without Lynda Carter or Gal Gadot
When Rifftrax revealed its first movie of 2015, people may have been confused by the title, "Wonder Women". Could this be a lost episode of Wonder Woman, where Lynda Carter squares off with another version of herself played by Cathy Lee Crosby, who played the same role in a TV-movie two years before?
Well, no such luck.
This was really a 1973 Filipino sexploitation film where a group of evil yet sexy women (who seem to be allergic to pants) kidnap athletes for evil experiments by their boss, a less-sexy-but-still-cute mad scientist. An insurance investigator named Mike Harber (now that's a '70s name) is in Manila to find a missing jai-alai player, apparently the Pele/Babe Ruth or whatever of the sport, or Lloyds of London will lose half a million dollars.
The people responsible work for a mad scientist named Dr. Tsu, who has a business of selling high-quality body parts to the rich. Her headquarters looks like a community college, and the operating room probably doubles as a disco. One of her customers is a old British lord named Paulson, who wants his brain put in a new body. He's so old the Rolling Stones would call him grandpa.
What's interesting is who plays the main characters. Dr. Tsu is played by Nancy Kwan, best known for Flower Drum Song and The World of Suzie Wong. That's not a bad resume. Even though this movie is a decade after those movies, Kwan looks great.
Mike Harber, though, is played by Ross Hagen, best known to MST fans in Sidehackers and Hellcats. In this movie, he looks like a Robert Urich knockoff (although the Rifftrax crew thinks he looks more like Lee Majors).
Also, Sid Haig, an actor well-known for being a nasty-looking guy in action and horror movies, looks a LOT different in this movie
Imagine Capatin Spaulding from House of 1000 Corpses looking like that.
Anyway, Harber travels with his sidekick Lapu-Lapu and his garish taxi, trying to find clues. He gets some info from a fake blind beggar/draft dodger and a guy running a cockfight. Meanwhile, Harber spends much of her time dealing with the feminine wiles and questionable martial arts skills of Linda, played by Maria De Aragon. She'd have a more famous role as Greedo in some scenes of Star Wars IV: A New Hope. She's not in the scenes with Han Solo, but if Greedo looked like her it would have been a different movie.
Eventually, Harber is taken to Dr. Tsu's lair, where she naturally tells him the whole plan since there's no chance he'll defeat her. She even introduces him to where she keeps her failed experiments, like an ex-basketball star who now has a light fixture covering his exposed brain, and a woman who looks like one of those Incredibly Mixed-Up Zombies.
What's more, she introduces him to brain sex, experienced through what's described as the set of a 1970s talk show, When Harber gets a good dose of brain sex, it's almost as if he's ravaged by an invisible Farah Fawcett, while the doc just opens her eyes wide a couple of times.
The plot, such as it is, isn't just one movie, but several quite familiar to fans of MST3K after pureed in a big movie blender. We have hot babes from Wild Wild World of Batwoman, a victim that would come from Incredibly Mixed-Up Zombies or The Unearthly, a smug guy that would be from Secret Agent Super Dragon or Agent from HARM, and a mad scientist from several MST3K targets, The old guy hoping to have his old brain in a new body is right out of Atomic Brain, while Tsu's "body parts for sale" racket is from Clonus: The Parts Horror.
Now to the riffs:
The movie starts with topless female swimmers, Sexy, right?
Mike Nelson: Topless swimmers might seem sexier, if they weren't swimming in a giant pool of blood. (actually, the water changes color a few times)
Sid Haig shows up as Gregorious
Bill Corbett: His smile can light up an adult book store.
Harber gets chased and shot at by a couple of guys in a moped.
Kevin Murphy: Leisure Suit Larry is the Bourne Supremacy
Linda tries to seduce Harber from afar
Mike: It's either a "come hither" look or acid reflux.
She kisses him after...we suppose...sex
Mike: You taste like Iron City (beer) and Steakumms
Then, there's the fight scene, punctuated by Linda head butting Harber in his groin
Kevin: Is that the brain sex they keep talking about?
There's also riffs on Orlando Bloom, Channing Tatum, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, REM, Ralph Lauren, Twitter, Pete Seeger, ACI Films (the "At Your Fingertips" people), The View and Chicken on a Stick.
Then there's the ending, which is supposed to be a very sensual game of chess that is broken up by a plot twist that doesn't improve the movie one bit. It inspires Kevin to figure out why the movie is called Wonder Women: "Because I wonder why any women would agree to be in it."
If nothing else, it does make the all-girl crew from Angel's Revenge look like Melinda May, Sydney Bristow, Peggy Carter and Natasha Romanoff.
The movie is available at rifftrax.com.