thumbs way, way down:
Scoopy's comments in
Forget about reading
"Harlot's Ghost". Here's the real CIA story right here.
I don't know if the
film is as bad as Tuna said, but it is surely bad. Real bad. More
important, it has two of my favorite kinds of bad:
1. Stupid bad.
I thought The Skulls
was the most illogical script ever written until I saw this one. But
this takes the cake for continuity and logical flaws.
First Example. My
favorite. At the end of the movie, the female CIA agent goes to a
guy to get false identity papers. When she goes to the clandestine
meeting to pick up the papers, he says "that's a new look for
you. I wouldn't have recognized you." She is wearing an blond
wig, a look which is also unfamiliar to us in the audience. She's
had straight black hair except for her disguise in the opening
scene. Five minutes later they show her burning those forged papers
(she knew they were a CIA plant), and the camera zooms in on them.
Her new passport, shown in flames, looks exactly like the disguise
she was wearing! Now, explain to me how the forger did that.
Second example. Not
once, but twice, Joe Estevez says to Our Heroine, "we need a
plan", and then says "you go that way" or something
like that. Now I ask you, "how is that any different from what
they would have done WITHOUT a plan?" I suppose, given a strict
literal interpretation, "going" somewhere is a plan. It is
a different plan from "staying" somewhere. But it sure
isn't much of a plan. I might not have noticed this if they had done
it once, but they did the exact same thing twice in five minutes, as
if they forgot which scene they were filming and just recited some
Third example. From
earliest infancy, Our Heroine was raised by a single female
surrogate parent, and never knew she was actually the daughter of
the CIA's top assassin. The false mom and the daughter have a loving
and supportive relationship. It turns out that this woman was a
hooker turned into a CIA operative. Uh-huh. "Here's your
assignment, Mrs Phelps. For the next 25 years, raise this girl in a
loving way and nurture her, because we know she has the genes to be
a good field assassin. We'll call you when we need you."
The girl never suspects, but when she confronts her
"mother" at the end, mom says something like, "you
know the worst part of raising you? All those cute little hugs and
sweet little walks in the park. Not to mention those fucking
Smurfs". Then she blasts her away. Unfortunately, she is only a
trained hooker, and daughter is a trained assassin, so daughter took
the precaution of removing the ammo from mom's gun.
Fourth example. How
did she get that ammo from mom's gun? She overheard a phone
conversation between mom and the CIA assassin leader, in which Mr
Leader said to mom, "don't forget to keep your gun
nearby". Up until that point, she had no idea that mom owned a
gun. She then killed Mr Leader and headed home to face mom in the
scene described above. Now I ask you again, how did she get the
bullets out of mom's gun?
I suppose I could
recite most of the script in this section, and that would be a
mighty long review, so I'll close it out there. I think you have the
2. Pretentious bad
I like this kind of
bad even better than stupid bad. The Joe Estevez character is fond of
reciting pseudo-profound and pseudo-poetic dialogue like "what is
truth? There is no truth". At one point he's breaking in a bunch
of assassin-trainees (I guess they have to wear a paper
"trainee" hat, like at McDonald's), when he gives them a
long drill-instructor interrogation focused on why they joined the
squad, and he finally gets them all to respond properly.
"Why did you
"To serve my
"Don't call me
'sir'! And you could have served your country elsewhere. What shit.
You joined because you're scum and you like to kill. Now why did you
like to kill, sir"
"Don't call me
like to kill"
didn't you become a butcher"
you like to kill PEOPLE, and you want your country to sanction
wrong with your hearing, boy? Don't call me 'sir'! Now why did you
like to kill people, si .... Um, I mean, because I like to kill
Ya gotta love the way
they portray the CIA. Such true-to-life dialogue that they must have
had an actual CIA assassin leave the company to write the script.
Well, at least until they killed him. Interestingly enough, they
didn't kill the director, Gerald Cain.
Or maybe they did. He
made this movie in 1993, and has not been seen or heard from since
1994. Hmmmmm .....
I know Tuna feels
that the film has no merit, and he is certainly right, but it is so
jaw-droppingly bad that its inherent foulness is, ipso facto,
pretty darned fascinating. I wouldn't suggest watching this alone and
sober, but for a gathering of stoned frat guys on Bad Movie night,
this could be a lot of fun. I am surprised that MST3K never discovered
this one, because it is absolutely their kind of movie.