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The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast(1973-1991)
No synopsis for The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast.
For more about The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast and the The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast Blu-ray release, see the The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on September 7, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Francine York, Tiger Yang, Tura Satana, Sharon Hughes, Michael Ansara, Sonny King
Director: Ted V. Mikels
This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast Blu-ray Review
Budget? Ted V. Mikels don't need no stinking budget.
Reviewed by Brian Orndorf, September 7, 2013
The Doll Squad
1973's "The Doll Squad" has all the ingredients for a rollicking B-movie viewing experience. We have a diabolical villain bent on world domination, a team of bikini-wearing secret agents brandishing cartoony weapons, and a taste of chunky 1970's action choreography to sell the hysteria. It's an ideal blend of escapist elements and a film some suggest was a clear inspiration for the jiggling juggernaut known as "Charlie's Angels." However, as enticing as "The Doll Squad" is, it's also a strangely airless endeavor that's hampered by its no-budget ambitions, finding writer-director Ted V. Mikels striving to make his own Bond movie with mere pennies to spend, forced to rinse and repeat every single scene. There's gold in the corners of the effort, but it takes considerable patience to find the highlights of this strangely chaste, frustratingly repetitive picture.
Managing to destroy a NASA rocket bound for space, terrorist Eamon (Michael Ansara) acquires the attention of the U.S. Government, hoping to blackmail leaders into providing microfilm pertaining to the development of a top secret weapon. Called into duty are the Doll Squad, a team of computer-selected undercover agents, led by Sabrina (Francine York), tasked with untangling Eamon's scheme to destroy the world, forcing the squad (including Tura Satana) to use any means necessary to infiltrate the madman's tropical fortress. Complications arise when covert work sours, leaving Sabrina no choice but to tackle the mission with brute force, storming a compound ruled by her former lover.
Mikels shows a certain sincerity with "The Doll Squad," bravely embarking on a mission to manufacture a pass at 007-style theatrics with a female lead, counting on York's statuesque poise and bosomy sex appeal to sell the picture's ludicrousness (thankfully, she's game to go anywhere the director asks), parading the star around in tight outfits, backed by a heavy-haired team wearing even less clothing. It's a run of exploitation without the nerve pinch of salaciousness, with Mikels refusing nudity and unsavory escapades to emphasize a global network of undercover agents and doomsday plans. Perhaps realizing how thin his premise is, Mikels attempts to complicate the story by weaving it through a maze of last names and motivations, creating the illusion of sophistication without actually engage the viewer. Those expecting a more robust movie will find a narrative clogged with spy game gunk, ornamented with weapons that include a flame-throwing cigarette lighter and a powered explosive intended to be mixed into drinks (causing the ultimate indigestion). Of course, Mikels doesn't actually pay for fire, instead superimposing enormous explosions over the carnage.
"The Doll Squad" should be more entertaining than it actually is, with only a few sequences capturing the intended sense of intrigue, following Sabrina around as she gathers her team of swimmers, dancers, and loose cannons to take on ultimate evil -- a baddie she was once tied to romantically. Even at 90 minutes, the feature is too long, too static to make much of an impression, watching Mikels's recycle action beats and sequences of infiltration, with the final act devoted to random people shooting one another in the dark, without the desired grip of suspense coming through. Sections of the movie are undeniably entertaining, but there's little rhythm to the work, with much of "The Doll Squad" hanging on for dear life, not asserting itself as a force of screen mayhem.
1991's "Mission: Killfast" is basically a remake of "The Doll Squad," with Mikels reviving his superspy formula to fit the martial arts genre, hoping to create a heroic screen force out of star Tiger Yang. Once again, Mikels arrives loaded with tempting B-movie elements, but he can't connect the dots, creating a film that's more comfortable spewing knotted exposition than delivering crescent kicks. Now where's the fun in that?
A pair of nuclear detonators has gone missing, with U.S. government officials desperate to reclaim the lost property and prevent a fanatical group from destroying the world. Enter Tiger Yang, a retired operative looking to settle down and teach the miracle of martial arts to his students. Talked into duty, Tiger commences his investigation, discovering moles inside a criminal syndicate that could lead to a quick retrieval of the detonators. However, complications and betrayals begin to pile up, forcing the kung fu master into action, infiltrating a terrorist camp with his team of black-belt warriors.
I'll be honest with you: I'm not 100% sure "Mission: Killfast" makes sense. Complete disinterest in the convoluted, overpopulated screenplay could be a reason for confusion, but I'm inclined to believe that Mikels was in survival mode here, desperate to put anything on the screen, whether or not it clicked together logically. Considering the fiery title and its fists of fury star, "Mission: Killfast" can barely stay awake, so lost in its labyrinth of agendas and back-stabbings, it simply settles down for a nap midway through, only awakening to observe the odd moment of action.
Forced to compete with other schlocky B-movie titles of the 1980s and '90s, Mikels updates his playbook with ample nudity, lacing the tale through the paranoid antics of a pornographer, while an ugly act of sexual violence also makes an appearance. The exploitative details of "Killfast" are tempting, but there's nothing driving the picture, no sense of pace or mystery. Instead, Mikels treats the viewer to endless scenes of characters explaining vague backstory or slogging through wilted motivation, failing to whip the feature into a frenzy (Mikels somehow believes he's making a studio thriller, imagining viewers are here for the plot, not the stunts). In fact, the director barely utilizes its star at all, who pops up periodically, regulated to a background role for much of the film.
Like "Squad," "Killfast" concludes with a compound assault, watching Yang take down large amounts of baddies with the support of his students, rehashing many of the same slaughter scenarios. It's numbingly familiar, turning nonsense into repetition, leaving "Mission: Killfast" adrift when it had all the opportunity in the world to dial up bottom-shelf insanity and treat the viewer to a kick-happy good time.
The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast Blu-ray, Video Quality
The AVC presentations on "The Doll Squad" and "Mission: Killfast" (1.85:1 aspect ratios) show expected signs of wear and tear, with "Squad" a little rougher with reel changes, while print damage and debris is detected on both films. Black levels are also on the murkier side, finding detail swallowed when the pictures launch into evening sequences, with slightly solidified backgrounds. Considering the age and obscurity of the movies, Vinegar Syndrome has managed to spruce up the visual experience nicely. Colors are skillfully managed, helping to awaken the image, with York's red hair from "Squad" showing welcome life onscreen, while costuming hues also bring some oomph to the frame. Skintones are accelerated but not distractingly so. Exteriors retain their natural desert brown and forest green appearance. Textures are not a priority for these softly photographed efforts, but the particulars of facial expressions and set dressing are easily surveyed. Fans of Mikels should be pleased with the BD release, which does quite well with limited resources.
The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mixes on both "Squad" and "Killfast" are extremely basic in design, with the latter sounding a bit bolder and fresher due to its younger age. Mikels was never one to care too deeply about sound, leaving the imperfect dialogue recording natural to the listening experience, requiring some volume riding to catch everything being shared by the characters. Outside of questionable technical efforts, the tracks successfully articulate the action event, with explosions and gunfire making their presence felt, while scoring selections are dominant, with a supportive funky vibe that's balanced with the human element. Hiss and pops are present but not distracting.
The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Two films from Ted V. Mikels. For fans, it's a return to blissfully budgetary B-movie exploits. For newcomers, just keep the fast-forward button nearby.
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The Doll Squad / Mission: Killfast Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Doll Squad/Mission: Killfast Blu-ray - July 1, 2013
Independent distributors Vinegar Syndrome have officially announced that they will release on Blu-ray director Ted V. Mikels' The Doll Squad (1973) and Mission: Killfast (1980). This double feature Blu-ray release will be available for purchase on September 10 ...
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