Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987)
Cast: Soap opera star and consonant enthusiast Ronn Moss gets top billing as Rowdy Abilene, the cousin of Malibu Express’s Cody Abilene (and has apparently inherited the titular yacht now that Cody is a movie star). This establishes continuity in the Sidarisverse, something I’m hoping continues. Though he’s ostensibly the star, he’s more of a sidekick to the pair of nearly identical blondes who are the film’s true heroes.
Miss March 1984 Dona Speir and Miss July 1985 Hope Marie Carlton are these heroically identical and identically heroic blondes, Donna and Taryn. They’re chiefly identifiable by the size of their clothing-averse breasts: Speir is a tad bustier. They’re DEA agents (although Taryn is a civilian or something and might be in witness protection, making me think Sidaris doesn’t really understand law enforcement) whose cover includes flying a cargo plane, giving tours, and posing in next to nothing. They’re fond of discussing their secret identities out in the open.
Harold Diamond, apparently famous for being Rambo’s stick-fighting opponent in Rambo III, is Jade. Despite having a stripper’s name, Jade is a slab of beefcake who looks like he got hit in the face with the entire ‘80s all at once. He sports a greasy ponymullet, has no idea about the invention of the button, and is a master of White Guy Karate.
Sidaris favorite Rodrigo Obregon is Seth Romero, the ill-fated villain. More on him later.
Miss October 1985 Cynthia Brimhall is Edy, who is some kind of DEA informant who runs a resort. She’s mostly there because two playmates don’t have enough breasts for Andy Sidaris. Her efforts are being foiled by…
Michael Andrews as Michael/Michele. In his second appearance, Sidaris’s favorite cross-dresser plays one of Romero’s henchmen. Andrews comes by his female impersonation honestly: he was the winner of the 1977 Miss Gay America pageant.
Playmate Quotient: Other than Speir, Carlton, and Brimhall, Miss May 1984 Patty Duffek pops up as “Pattycakes,” a character who will later appear in two other Sidaris films.
IMDB Plot Keywords: Diamonds, Erotica, Helicopter, Jacuzzi, No Panties
IMDB User Lists Appearing On: All U.S. Released Movies: 1970-2014, Movies reviewed on Junk Food Dinner, 80’s Action Movies: Best and Worst, Bad Movie Night, Worst Movies Of All Time
Synopsis: The DEA sends agent Donna and possible civilian Taryn to Hawaii to bring down accident-prone drug kingpin Seth Romero. Meanwhile, Romero proves his evil bona fides when a couple of his henchmen — Shades, Balding Skateboard Registered Sex Offender, and Sweats-When-He-Eats — murder a couple of Molokai cops. Only one of those names is actually the guy’s stated character name, but the others are entirely accurate.
Meanwhile, at a warehouse where Donna and Taryn have their cover, two snakes have been imported into Hawaii. One of them is fine and headed for some kind of animal preserve, and the other one is “infected with the deadly toxins of a thousand cancer-infested rats” which is totally not a thing, but there you go. Anyway, Donna and Taryn fuck up and take the bad snake along with a honeymooning couple to some beautiful Hawaiian beach. While there, they happen upon a remote controlled helicopter crime boss Mr. Chang (totally played by a white British guy making me think Sidaris doesn’t understand Chinese people either) was using to transport a package to the island.
Balding Skateboard Registered Sex Offender and Sweats-When-He-Eats intercept Taryn and Donna at the helicopter. Fortunately (and despite their secret identities), both women were carrying ninja weapons. Taryn hurls some nunchucks at Sex Offender, and Donna catches Sweats with a throwing star to the nipple. The girls get away with Mr. Chang’s package. Ew. No, wait.
Donna and Taryn decide to head to the jacuzzi to have a topless discussion about what they found, because their boobs need precious air in order to think. The package contains a little bag of diamonds, which will be the movie’s MacGuffin. Donna and Taryn call in Rowdy and Jade for help. Proving that was an awesome idea, a couple of Romero’s thugs rough the girls up a little and the evil snake gets away in the fracas. Romero, who was hilariously waiting outside with the car, sees the snake and freaks out, leading to a full blown retreat. Donna shoots Romero in the face (not fatally) as he flees.
Jade and Rowdy arrive on the island to be immediately attacked by Balding Skateboard Registered Sex Offender. This scene instantly raises the film several notches on the Holy Living Fuck meter. Okay, so Jade and Rowdy are cruising along in their jeep, looking like a couple bros searching for anonymous sodomy and PEDs. BSRSO is doing a handstand on his skateboard, like all skeevy forty-year-olds do. He gets to Sweats-When-He-Eats, who has a blow-up sex doll in the car for some reason. They zoom up the road past the good guys, so BSRSO can skate downhill at the good guys again. For his attack, he grabs a gun and the blow-up doll because all of a sudden this guy is Lars and the Real Girl. BSRSO skates back, shoots Jade non-fatally, and gets totally creamed by the jeep. He flies up in the air, and Rowdy pulls a four-barreled rocket launcher and blows BSRSO up. Then he rockets the sex doll, because fuck that thing. This is exactly as incredible as it sounds.
Meanwhile, the snake kills the honeymooning couple Donna and Taryn dropped off in the beginning. This has nothing to do with anything.
Michele drops the drag act and kidnaps Edy with help from the two thugs who menaced Donna and Taryn earlier. Our heroes are watching Romero’s compound and witness Edy’s arrival. Donna and Taryn gather up Jade and Rowdy and plan an attack. Rowdy and Donna take a break for some sex, and unlike the other sex scenes in the film, this one doesn’t fade out after some topless kissing, although it’s pretty obvious Donna would rather kiss pretty much anything else. Who could blame her, when from the way Rowdy lines up his pelvis to her navel, it’s clear he got sex lessons from Tommy Wiseau.
Anyway, the plan is to kill Shades, who is the sole guard outside the compound. Despite the fact that he openly carries an Uzi, some girl plays frisbee with him every day. Rowdy, in an upsetting banana hammock, paddles a surfboard in and plays frisbee with Shades. What’s this? A bladed frisbee? Fuck yes. Rowdy owns Shades with the weapon every kid in the ‘80s fantasized about having.
Donna flies in on a gliding plane and drops grenades on the compound while Rowdy, Jade, and Taryn zoom in on a jeep and shoot the place up. It’s like the end of Beverly Hills Cop with a thousand percent more boobs and rockets. Taryn kills Michael, Donna blows up a helicopter full of bad guys, and Romero escapes (something no one realizes until later in the car where they’re like, “Hey, where was Seth?”)
Donna’s at home, ready to unwind, but here comes Seth! What follows is the saddest fight in the history of film. At first, it looks like Romero has a chance, but it quickly becomes apparent he broke into the wrong fucking house. Donna shoots him with a spear gun, stabs him with his own knife, kicks him when he’s down, and feeds him to the evil snake which lives in her toilet now. Donna contemplates how she’s going to murder the snake when Rowdy bursts through the wall on his motorcycle and shoots a rocket in the goddamn house, something I was never allowed to do as a kid. The snake blows up.
The movie clears up its last loose end when Rowdy and Donna go murder Mr. Chang, who, let me remind you, is extremely white. In the end, Taryn claims she owns the diamonds now because squatter’s rights or something. Over the credits, we see a brief recap of the many breasts in the film.
Yakmala? Other than the snake, which is a truly bizarre touch, the film is far too competent for inclusion. I was struck by the weird amount of internal logic present. For example, in one comic scene where two football players are giving vulgar answers to softball interview questions, it’s revealed later that they’re both drunk. Once again, Sidaris made the movie he was trying to make. And then added a monster snake because sometimes the muse must be obeyed even if she’s off her meds.
Lauri’s Thoughts: I don’t think I can say that the director has grown as a human being, but the women in this movie at least kicked some ass. While it was unclear what their jobs at “The Agency” actually were, they at least got to fly their own plane, drive their own car, and Donna got to blow up a helicopter with a bazooka and kick the shit out of Prominent Forehead Man who was trying to kill her. It was still a terrible movie full of awkward topless groping sessions (which the director apparently thinks are sex scenes), but at least I actually cheered for Donna and Taryn. And any scene with the bazooka was gold. However, I do want to strangle the person who wrote the horrible theme song that WILL NOT GET OUT OF MY HEAD.
To sum up, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, here’s how I rate it:
Girls = 4 (no sympathy numbers, they earned this one by kicking some ass)
Guns = 10 (a bazooka is used to blow up a skateboarder, his blow up doll, a helicopter, and a contaminated snake – unnecessary and wonderful)
G-Strings = 2 (there were 3 g-strings this time if you count the sumo wrestlers!)
Maki’s Thoughts: When I initially mentioned these DVDs, a twitter pal of mine (@BigMaki — go follow him now!) chimed in with some Sidaris love. He’ll be contributing some thoughts to the reviews. Who is he? I’m glad you asked:
Maki is one of the hosts of Bad Movie Fiends, a weekly podcast dedicated to finding and reviewing the good “bad” movies, of which multiple Andy Sidaris movies have been featured. Check them out at BMFcast.com.
Hard Ticket To Hawaii was my introduction to Andy Sidaris, and I have to admit it probably spoiled me for everything else the man would put out. If you’re making a checklist of things that you’d want in his movies, Hard Ticket is the only one that would have every single box checked. There’s the boobs, the guns, the explosions, the remote control vehicles, the terrible one-liners… Then you suddenly put a razorblade frisbee, a rocket launcher blowing up a skateboarder holding an inflatable doll for no reason and you’ve officially thrown in the proverbial kitchen sink as well. And oh yeah, that sink has A CANCER SNAKE IN IT THAT ALSO GETS BLOWN UP WITH A ROCKET LAUNCHER. Because why not, right?
I imagine the scriptwriting process involved this exchange fairly often:
“What’s the awesomest way to kill off this henchman?”
“I dunno, let me ask my 12-year-old son again.”
And then they put in whatever he said! I love this movie. 12-year-old me would have turned out a different man, had he seen this movie when he was 12. If you watch only one Sidaris movie in your life, this is the one.