Image Entertainment // 2004 // 63 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 19th, 2004
Woo-hoo! Animated areolae!
Forget "good will toward men" and "the warm, giving spirit" and "the birth of Christ." Christmas is about scantily-clad, heavily-armed, foul-mouthed, animated hit-women rescuing Santa Claus!!!
There's not too much here to work with. Basically, Santa Claus has been kidnapped, as part of nefarious scheme to snuff out the True Meaning of Christmas, by a shady bad guy who's a puppet for an even shadier corporate conglomerate. The plan is to dominate the Yuletide festivities with corporate greed.
So who do you summon when events grow this menacing? How about the Bikini Bandits, a trio of gun-toting, cleavage-boasting animated hotties with foul mouths?
So our heroes set out to track down Kris Kringle, and encounter fantastic beasts, itchy-trigger-finger-havin' authority figures, and zombie strippers -- not to mention the perpetrators of the diabolical plot.
This film is a shade north of an hour long, and is animated -- sort of. The filmmakers employ a minimalist approach to the animation, with the mouths being the only on-screen drawings moving, for the most part. The actual animated portions of the characters are sparse, as the creators relied mainly on panning and zooming and quick cuts to generate the feel of action.
Bikini Bandits Save Christmas boasts a sharp, highly-stylized look, which may be more successful as sleight-of-hand than as an animating strategy; the nifty visuals distract from the stone-cold static animation.
Basically, the movie plays like an on-screen comic book, and is done in a frame-by-frame narrative style. Or, if you prefer, like an R-rated version of Reading Rainbow.
Well, that's the style -- what about the substance?
Unfortunately, this is the Bikini Bandits' downfall. For one thing, the voice acting is atrocious. I can't recall an animated flick that utilized such wooden, emotionless voicing. The Bikini Bandits sometimes offer a bit of spice, but all the other players are just laughably bad.
Which is appropriate considering the writing. This is not a witty piece of film. Aside from the fleeting novelty of hearing these flesh-baring sprites use vulgar language, the dialogue is dopey and amateurish. I think the screenwriters for Bikini Bandits Save Christmas reveled in its overuse of profanity instead of applying any energy or creative force to quality scripting. (Kind of like those unfunny comedians who figure an expletive-laden rant is a meaningful substitute for authentically humorous material.)
Lastly, this is a tame "adult cartoon." Those of you going into this looking to be titillated by carton boobies and whatnot will be disappointed. These Bikini Bandits are more reserved than their names would suggest.
Sound and video are adequate enough, with no major flaws marring either. Though the aural experience wasn't particular intense, the picture quality was sharp and sufficiently boisterous in color. A plus for any animation.
Included with the feature were two separate discs. One was the "Bikini Bandits XXX-mas Special," which was a 30 minute-long presentation of real-life "bandits" engaging in relatively lame skits, interspersed with crude commercial parodies. Again, a nudity-free romp not as debauched as the title suggests (though there is a pretty zany egg-nog sequence that you should see). A bonus audio disc of four songs, headlined by "F*ck Christmas," finished off the extras lot.
If your fans of the Bandits, I'm guessing this is for you. I didn't dig it, and wouldn't recommend the flick for people interested in edgy, witty adult animation.
The accused is found guilty and sentenced to three to five years in an animated "women-in-prison" movie.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 63 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "XXX-mas Special"
* Bonus Audio Disc