Tempe Video // 1992 // 70 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // December 17th, 2003
Her naked fist will be in your face!
Kathy is an ugly human humungous whose best friend Frieda makes beached whales seem sexy. Frieda wants to go out and party all the time, but Kathy is obsessed with a stupid cop show called ChickBoxer. The buxom star of this television turd runs around solving cases and kicking the crime out of people. Kathy's fanatical devotion to the show has made her mental. She actually thinks ChickBoxer is a real crimefighter. Deciding that the only way she can become popular, outside of about a billion dollars of plastic surgery and a personality transplant, is to take up karate, Kathy enrolls in Steve "Colt" Jackson's Viper Con Marital Arts School and Front for Felonious Activity. Before you know it, she is doing continuous faux calisthenics in a montage scored to horrible heavy metal songs and she feels just like her prime time hero. But when the mayor is caught in a drug ring and Kathy's ex-boyfriend finds out about the fiendish plot, they decide to take on the crooks and clean up the town once and for all. Naturally, Kathy calls ChickBoxer. Our large-chested cult figure thinks Kathy is nuts and hangs up on her, so she can continue discussing a chance at doing pornography with her manager. Stunned, our crazy coquette decides to become her very own version of her favorite super heroine (just call her Ickboxer) and it's over to the karate school they go. Fight scenes as staged by a fetus ensue.
We can thank our six pointed throwing stars for the Bad Movie Police. Their efforts in cleaning up cult movies for the truly talented means mediocrity like ChickBoxer will finally spend time making little ones out of big ones in the big cinematic slammer.
Okay, let's get some preliminary remarks out of the way right up front. ChickBoxer sucks the root. ChickBoxer blows monkeys in a way that Darwin never envisioned for evolution. Science has yet to devise an instrument able to accurately record the levels of rotten retardation in this attempted action comedy. In the pantheon of pathetic attempts at making the camcorder into cinema, this has to rival Da Hip Hop Witch and People from Space as the worst video vomit ever. Between the atrocious community playhouse non-acting, eye-straining cinematography, muffle and hiss imbued soundtrack, and dopey as donkey droppings dialogue, there is not a single redeeming aspect to this hour-long horror show. Well, maybe there's two, since B-movie scream queen Michele Bauer (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold) wears a barely breast-covering pink Lycra nightmare in one of her two scenes (and appears without a stitch on in the out-of-place softcore sex scene at the end). So if seeing Kim Cattrall's Sex and the City moral inspiration riding the perpendicular baloney pony for forty seconds sends your shorthairs into a shiver, you may not mind muddling through the other 59 minutes of unadulterated douche that is contained in this homemade disaster.
But for some reason, the amount of awfulness given off by this film never seems to affect you directly. You grow bored and sleepy, get aggravated and antsy and yet, when the final agonizing moments of the credits finish unfolding, you feel strangely relieved and moderately entertained, as if you were taking some manner of endurance test and passed with flying colors. Indeed, ChickBoxer simultaneously sounds better and/or worse than it should be. The title alone suggests buxom babes hitting the square circle for a little lesbian love TKO. Had this film been a direct-to-video porn panorama with fake boobs bouncing while wanton women hit the heavy bag and languish in long hot showers, you wouldn't hear many male critics making raspberries, but the reality is far more mangled and, frankly, insanely imaginative. This is a movie about a TV show called ChickBoxer, a faux feminist friskfest featuring a top-heavy heroine whose idea of crime fighting centers around the notion of "kicking like a girl." Now, we never really see scenes from this imaginary glass teat treat (our only snippet is of the aforementioned chick "kicking"), but we surely hear enough about it. Our main character just rambles on and on about this fantastic, action packed show and how much she admires the leading lady. In essence, ChickBoxer is an attempt to do some manner of strange send-up of high school comedies from the early '80s in combination with crime and kickboxing thrillers with a little first person narrative and scream queen shtick tossed in on the side.
It's the piling on of improbabilities that makes ChickBoxer so laugh-out-loud ludicrous. Yes, our "high school" students all appear to be pushing either menopause or age-based plausibility. Our "juvenile" lead has more crow's feet than one of those infamous pies containing four and twenty blackbirds, and her best friend looks more like a bitter divorcée from the typing pool and less a matriculating 11th grader. Our criminal mastermind is definitely a reject from the Village People (apparently there wasn't an opening for an African American Bonsai man) and his henchmen represent the age-old tough guy/comic relief motif. While Knuckles is cracking his namesake and trying to act all rough, his rotund riblet of a cohort merely prances around and asks for food. There is even a scene where this stocky stooge has his attention diverted by a well-placed plate of meatloaf with all the trimmings. Between the scenes of pseudo karate lessons (featuring a couple of perplexing male participants who give new meaning to the words "androgynous" and "uncoordinated") and a final fight scene that looks like it was staged by the decaying flesh from Isadora Duncan's inner thigh, ChickBoxer fails on all levels, including molecular and metaphysical. And still, you'll experience that weird, warped wonderment of entertainment via extrapolation. The worse this movie gets, the more you'll be giddy with guilty pleasure palpitations. And then there is that closing moment of coitus to trim your tacky tree with a completely pointless exercise in skin shifting. Love it or hate it, you'll have to admit that, after watching ChickBoxer, you've never seen anything quite like it. Thankfully.
Tempe's premise for its new "Bad Movie Police" line of DVDs is equal goofball goodness, presented like an old-fashioned Shock Theater framing device from years back. It's near genius to serve up your wanton cinematic waste product as further self-serving comedic deconstruction fodder and throughout the entire process, the tongue-in-cheek chattering of the two female fuzz really sells the experiment. As with the other offering in the Bad Movie Police collection (the space sputum Galaxy of the Dinosaurs), the package is presented as a typical portfolio from our movie Mounties. They give us the rundown on the film's moving image violations and offer up evidence in support of their entertainment indictment. Of these bonus content accusations, the commentary track by J.R. Bookwalter is the best. His constant stream of putdowns and enticing explanation about how this project came about (basically, a distributor handed him a title and a video box and said "fill it") add extra emphasis on how difficult no-budget filmmaking is. Like the Galaxy disc, there is also a featurette (this time out it's far less informative) and a snippet from James Black's career documentary. As for the film offering itself...well...the words "piss poor" or "whiz woeful" can't begin to describe the image and sound, even in a remastered state. The transfer is overly bright, faded, filled with flares and halos, and basically about as bad as a video transfer can get. The fact that the commentary says that this is the best ChickBoxer has ever looked is just plain frightening. The sound is another problem. Filled with hiss, distortion, bad recording, and tons of drop-out, it makes what should be marginal miserable.
But that's a lot like describing ChickBoxer itself. With a title that screams steamy titillation but with an end result more mind-blowingly mopey, this sad excuse for a cinematic outing is still guilty pleasurable for all the wrong reasons. So sit back and enjoy middle-aged women reenacting their teen years, all in the name of a stupid crime syndicate. It's enough to make you kick something yourself. Another case closed by the BMP.
Review content copyright © 2003 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Tempe Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 70 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Feature Commentary with Producer J.R. Bookwalter and Star James Black
* Behind the Scenes Featurette
* "Into the Black" Documentary Segment
* Still Gallery
* Original Trailer
* Full Color Insert