There’s been a resurgence of interest in B-movies from the 60’s and 70’s, with new remakes often acting as a “comedic tribute” rather than an actual send-up to the genre (the closest we came to that was the Grindhouse double feature). Now with Bitch Slap, we get another B-movie send up…just with less plot and so much stylized violence you’d think Zack Snyder was behind the camera (or, rather, a wannabe Snyder, as his stylized violence at least came at purposeful times for the most part—here it’s just constant for no reason). It’s no real surprise that this film opened in a mere three theaters before being tossed onto DVD by Fox and once you step into the world of Bitch Slap it becomes painfully evident why it didn’t get a larger release.
Unlike any “B” movie ever seen! Assume the position and prepare to get slapped as bodacious bad girls, fervent brawls and slow-motion cat fights explode in the adrenaline-fueled, deliciously over-the-top Bitch Slap, coming to Unrated DVD March 2 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Trixie, Hel and Camero may look good on the outside, but they’re nothing but badass on the inside. When the tempting trio arrives in the desert to retrieve stolen jewels at a ruthless gangster’s hideout, they find themselves competing against an assortment of bizarre criminals – and each other. But what else can one expect from a down-on-her luck stripper, a drug-running killer and a ball-busting businesswoman? Bounding with violence and excess galore, Bitch Slap is a wildly explosive tribute to the sensationalistic style of the cult exploitation genre and a modern throwback to the “B” movie film genre.
There’s little not to love about the Bitch Slap trailer…but like the “trailers” made for Grindhouse, the “cool” factor quickly wears off once you spend more than two or three minutes on them. This is disappointing because Bitch Slap just looked really cool…but then 109 minute runtime of this film gets to be sorely felt when it repeatedly goes back and forth through the timeline to explore the back stories of our main gals. Normally this is cool, but the back stories really don’t lead up to anything that you ultimately care about and the film itself results in a kind of B-movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, but with an overabundance of breasts and a lot less humor and entertainment. I really liked the general premise of the movie, but the execution was just…quite horrendous.
There’s a lot to be said about stylized violence; it’s cropped up a lot lately in a myriad of action films (especially after 300) and it is almost always overused. Such is the case here, as director Rick Jacobson hammers home the same over stylized abundance that he brought to Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I tried getting into that series but was quickly put off by the ridiculous visuals and awkward and out of place dialogue that filled each scene. Such was a similar case here, although the dialogue wasn’t really an issue this time around (although it was pretty hammy at times).
Also for a movie that advertises itself with a title like Bitch Slap and boasts a cover as sultry as the one we’re given, it’s rather bewildering by how tame this film actually is. Yeah, there’s violence and a lot of it but the near complete lack of nudity is just…bewildering. Plenty of innuendo and all that, but if this was supposed to appeal to a younger audience, they kind of missed the boat on that one. I don’t personally care, but it’s just kind of like opening a box of Lucky Charms and finding only six marshmallows in it, when the cover advertises hundreds of them.
Overall Bitch Slap is a pretty big disaster of a film. It’s stylized violence is way too abundant (and similar to Mission: Impossible 2 in that every action shot was in slow motion, making me question how long the film would actually be if it was on regular speed), the dialogue stupid, the story boring, and the characters generic. It definitely looked promising, but as big as B-movie/blaxploitation parodies are now, I fear the vast majority of them that we get are going to be shoddy productions like Bitch Slap. It should come as no surprise that this one is Skippable.
Fox releases Bitch Slap on DVD in a standard single-disc Eco Amaray case. No inserts are included and the menu system is simple and easy to navigate. The stylized violence does offer a nice bit of visuals to gaze upon and the DVD transfer does its best at showing it all off as best as it could…but I can’t help but feel it might’ve been more enjoyable on Blu-ray (especially since it was shot with the RED One Camera). The DD5.1 mix is equally as bombastic and impressive and a worthy listen with the surrounds kicked up…although it might serve to be better background noise than a film you actually sit down with a bucket of popcorn to watch.
Building A Better B-Movie Documentary
Commentary by Producers Rick Jacobson (Writer/Producer/Director), Eric Gruendemann (Writer/Producer) & Brian Peck (Associate Producer)
Commentary by Principal Cast: Julia Voth (Trixie), Erin Cummings (Hel) & America Olivo (Camero)
Yes…two commentaries. Lovely. I couldn’t wait to watch this film two more times. For what it’s worth they aren’t terrible tracks (although the producer/writer/etc. track is a bit annoying since they seem to be oblivious that they made a rubbish film) but if you didn’t enjoy the film then you’ll find little to enjoy here either. Same can be said for the documentary which is actually an over ninety-minute long making-of that covers in exhausting detail the making of this film. It really sucks that the film is so mediocre since these extras are pretty great.
As is the trailer for the film, to be honest. If you watch the trailer and think “Yes, I will watch this and love it,” then please just watch the trailer five or six more times, because you’ll get the same feeling of fatigue and boredom from that as you will from actually watch the film itself. Skip It.
Bitch Slap is now available on DVD.