Hustler Squad

November 26, 2011 at 4:01 pm (4 Heads, Hustler Squad) (, , , , )

Hustler Squad – 1976 – Philippines

As an obscure American/Filipino co-production, Hustler Squad’s only recognizable name is Crystin Sinclaire—also in Eaten Alive (1977). I dig Filipino flicks. The works of producer/director Eddie Romero are favorites: Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968), Brides of Blood (1968), The Beast of Yellow Night (1971), and Beast of Blood (1971). But Hustler Squad isn’t as energetic or imaginative as all that. Write it off as another dubious Crown International Pictures cheapie.

World War 2 in the Philippines: Gambling cigar-smoking Major Stony Stonewell trains a crack team of prostitute assassins composed of a slutty inmate, terminally ill pacifist, rape victim, and hooker marked for death. With nothing to lose, they embark on a deadly covert operation to exterminate Japanese high command.

Unfortunately, Hustler Squad isn’t as hardboiled as its premise promises. Actually, unfunny comedic touches are numerous. The ladies’ supposedly intensive basic training is more fun than grueling, especially set to a sassy mixture of swing and march music. Two horny dames even try to subdue and screw the instructor in an unarmed combat lesson. In a more ludicrous bit, a chauvinist officer belittles the squad, so they infiltrate and hog-tie his whole barracks. At least Hustler Squad avoids the obvious route of portraying the ladies as tough bickering broads. On the contrary, their irrepressible spirit is like a crew of cheerleaders’.

But when the guns come out, Hustler Squad’s tone shifts. Hundreds of extras are mowed down between all the massive battles. In the bloody climax, the rape victim flips out and hacks people apart with a katana as soldiers are shot every which way. Eventually everyone dies but the terminally ill girl, who didn’t care about living anyway. After all the scenes of feel good girl power, the dramatic conclusion is shocking.

Crown International Pictures were specialists in violent sexist crap like this—army chicks, biker chicks, prison chicks, police chicks, kung-fu chicks, etc. Hustler Squad is a mishmash of typical Crown tripe but lacking the pathos and extremeness of their more memorable flicks (Malibu High). Crown phoned this one in.

Rating: 4/10 Shrunken Heads. The name Stony Stonewell is almost worth a bonus head.

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