Thursday, May 30, 2013

DANGEROUS ORPHANS Reminds Me to Not Judge a Movie by its Title

Dangerous Orphans (1985) 
Director: John Laing
Rating: 3 / 10
Source: Academy Home Entertainment VHS

I don't know that any film could live up to my preconceived notions of what a movie called Dangerous Orphans should be, but this one doesn't even come close. I fully believe that Director John Laing had the best intentions with this one, either that or he was just throwing little bits of noir in just to lead me on. But this is no noir. Rather, it's a tangled mess of a crime flick packed to the brim with thick, boring men in bad polyester suits. It's a sloppy sort of bad, the kind of movie that doesn't even feel the need to identify its protagonists until about twenty minutes in. Even then, it doesn't tell us anything terribly interesting about any of them. I have so many reasons not to care, and your film is already almost a third of the way finished? Please, can I get some sort of bone thrown to me?

The answer is no. Anyway, Harry, Rossi, and Moir (played by Iolaus himself, Michael Hurst, the only recognizable name here) are three young men who make a living stealing from organized crime bosses. Actually, only two of them support themselves this way - Harry's primary occupation is acting for television and the stage. He's even famous enough to get street recognition from time to time. So why the crime? Er, well - we learn via multiple flashbacks throughout the film that all three of these men are orphans, and that they made a pact as kids to stick together. So essentially we've got a little group of proto-Boondock Saints running around taking out the bad guys for cool points and a little extra cash on the side.

These are not the heroes, but they get about as much screen time.
Their recent job involves stealing money and drugs from a dealer named Jack Hanna (not the guy who hosted Animal Adventures, unfortunately). When Harry stumbles into a piano bar and meets a beautiful dame named Teresa who's been tickling the ivories (is it just me or is it geting a little noir in here?), he immediately falls for her, only to later find out that she's (gasp) Jack Hanna's ex-wife and also the man who has custody of her daughter. 

What will he and his friends do? Well, you know, go along with the heist anyway and somehow figure out a way to liberate Teresa's daughter from the kingpin. Along the way we'll get to know the gang better (in theory) through flashbacks, none of which show us how a group of orphaned kids became an unstoppable gang of crime-fighting criminals. These dots are simply never connected. To make things worse, Rossi and Moir are never fleshed out in the slightest. I honestly think this movie could have eliminated both of them with little to no ultimate effect on the plot.

There's some action, some romance between Harry and Teresa, and - yeah, just skip it.

The Good

I like the font they chose for the opening titles.

The Bad

I'd rather not spend more time enumerating the ways this movie goes wrong.

...the Hell? 

"Live dangerously, Harry! Live DANGEROUSLY!"

Why, when he's a ridiculously successful actor?

Also, maybe this explains something?

The Verdict

This film is just the pits. It half-asses everything and hits that sweet spot of being so bad it provokes nothing but apathy. Don't even bother. I feel bad letting this month-long thrift-store feature end with a whimper, but that's one of the risks that we barrel-scrapers face, I suppose.

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