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Case Number 01693

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Don't Mess With My Sister!

Elite Entertainment // 1987 // 85 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // February 15th, 2002

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All Rise...

The Charge

LUST destroyed his life. PASSION led him to murder. GREED left him a beaten man. All because he wouldn't listen to them when they said…DON'T MESS WITH MY SISTER!

Opening Statement

I sometimes wish that I were a dog. Or maybe a ficus tree. Or possibly even a pot of macaroni and cheese. Sometimes I wish I were anything but human, for that would mean I wouldn't have to sit through movies like Don't Mess With My Sister!. Like a turd that just won't flush, Don't Mess With My Sister! was originally available on VHS and is now back again on DVD to stink up your living room with its horrid acting, plotline, action…hell, everything about this movie is terrible. Don't Mess With My Sister! comes from the same guy who gave us I Spit On Your Grave, and that's not a compliment. I've seen I Spit On Your Grave, and much like my freshman year algebra class, it's one of the most soulless, vile, and morally reprehensible things I've ever had to sit through. Director Meir Zarchi, a man who wouldn't know a competent script if it landed on his face and peed on him, brings us Don't Mess With My Sister! care of Elite Entertainment. May God help us all.

Facts of the Case

Meet Steven (Joe Pearce). Steven lives a typical Italian life with a typical Italian family. He has a big-haired wife named Clara (Jeannine Lemay) and together they have a brand new lil' baby. Steven works at a car junkyard as a bookkeeper with Clara's two brothers, Roberto (Jack Gurci) and Dino (Peter Sapienza). It's Steven's birthday and he's hoping that he can maybe become a partner with the brother-in-laws (seeing as he married their sister for that sole reason in the first place). Unfortunately, instead of a partnership the brothers offer Steven a measly $20 raise. This doesn't sit well with Steve, who is taking night classes in accounting to further his education and financial standing.

After class he inadvertently picks up a woman who ends up being a belly dancer that plans to shake her bon-bon at Steve's surprise birthday party. At the party we meet all kinds of Italian and ethnic stereotypes, including the boisterous mother, the disapproving grandmother, and the obnoxious and frizzy-haired sister. Flashing forward a bit, Steven ends up meeting up with the belly dancer and giving her a ride home. There the two decide to make innocent chit chat about a giant dead lioness hanging on her wall, then proceed to knock boots on a table and in the shower. Later Steven's wife finds out about the affair, forcing her two brothers to decide that Steven needs to pay for…wait for it…hold on…here it comes…messing with their sister!

The Evidence

I'm speaking directly to the baboons who make this movie: I want my hour and a half back! Don't Mess With My Sister! is an incoherent mess that makes me wonder who gave writer/producer/director Meir Zarchi money to make this fruitless venture. What was the thought process behind this film? "Hey," someone must have thought, "I've always wanted to see a movie about a dysfunctional Italian family that has 2% plot, 11% bad acting, and 87% boredom!" Whoever this person was should be dragged over hot coals, naked and face-down.

At first, I thought that this might be a horror movie, possibly in the vein of Troma's Class Of Nuke 'Em High ('cause the DVD covers look similar). That wasn't the case. Then I thought maybe it was an action movie. Wrong again. Then it dawned on me: this is going to be a really slow, poorly paced flick that will leaving me feeling empty and disappointed at by the end. Ding ding ding ding! I choose correctly, meaning I got a few lovely parting gifts including dissatisfaction and general remorse for sitting through this poop stain on the underwear of cinema.

In all honesty, Don't Mess With My Sister! doesn't even deserve any true film criticism. This is a movie that doesn't make you think, ponder, or intellectualize about any of its story or characters. Director/writer/producer Meir Zarchi hasn't the slightest idea how to make a competent movie. Why does Steven cheat on his wife? No reason is truly given. Why does Steven blow up his brother's car at the end? We're not really sure. Then again, by the end of the first half of this film we don't really care—we just want the movie to end as quickly and painlessly as possible.

None of the actors know how to play their parts, but that's okay—none of their parts have been written well enough to warrant any acting skills. All the women in this film look like they stumbled off of Saturday Night Live's Linda Richman "Coffee Talk" sketch. The men are all thick Italian looking guys who give the thugs from The Godfather a run for their money. Apparently, Italian men in movies like Don't Mess With My Sister! aren't allowed to be lawyers or doctors…just junk shop owners. Thank God for stereotypes.

I could continue, but what's the point? I think I've made it unquestionably clear that Don't Mess With My Sister! is a disaster in both story, character development and filmmaking in general. While there have been far more cruddy movies made, Don't Mess With My Sister! is almost worse for the sole fact that such a horrible movie sports such a great title. Shame on all involved, and shame on me for sitting through until the very end.

Don't Mess With My Sister! is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I can't say much for the movie, but I can praise the transfer for looking very good. While there are a few specks of dirt and grain during the film, Elite has done a very nice job of refurbishing this transfer and making it look very clear and crisp. Some of the Elite transfers have been mediocre while the bulk of them have been great. They may not be Anchor Bay, but Elite surely holds its own when it comes to bringing old cult classics to the new DVD format.

The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 in English. This isn't a very exciting soundtrack, though the bulk of the dialogue, effects, and music are all free of excessive distortion or noise. Most of this track is filtered through only the front channel with little-to-no sound effects escaping out of the side speakers. No subtitles or alternate soundtracks are available on this disc.

It's slim pickin's for extra features, but I ain't complaining…the less I saw of this movie the better. Featured on this disc is a 17-minute deleted scene reel that includes extended scenes not used in the final film. Whoop-dee-freakin'-do. Also included is a theatrical trailer for those who want to subject themselves to more punishment equivalent to sticking sharp objects up their nose.

Closing Statement

I do have some good news: I looked up this movie on the Internet Movie Database and found out that Don't Mess With My Sister! was Zarchi's second and last film as a director. Everyone fall to their knees and give thanks, for there is a God and he is good!

The Verdict

The only thing this movie is good for it reciting its mildly amusing title. Otherwise, throw this disc in your microwave and watch it burn!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 86
Audio: 81
Extras: 45
Acting: 56
Story: 33
Judgment: 44

Perp Profile

Studio: Elite Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
• None
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Bad
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Deleted Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer


• IMDb

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