Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lethal Ladies Collection (2011, Shout! Factory)

The brilliant Roger Corman's Cult Classic line continues with this fantastic three film set - Lethal Ladies Collection.  This set includes two films by Filipino exploitation great Cirio H. Santiago - Firecracker and TNT Jackson, as well as a female spy film Too Hot to Handle.  I had never seen any of these films before so it was a treat getting three hard to find exploitation films in one set.

Firecracker (1981, Cirio H. Santiago) stars Jillian Kesner as Susanne Carter, a martial arts expert who goes to the Philippines to find her missing sister.  While she is there, she meets up with Rey (Raymond King), a local fighter and Chuck Donner (Darby Hinton), another karate expert who works for the local mafia.  Susanne tries to infiltrate the mob and get close to Chuck to find out what happened to her sister.

TNT Jackson (1974, Cirio H. Santiago) stars Jeanne Bell as Diana "TNT" Jackson, another martial arts expert who goes to Hong Kong to find her missing brother (sound familiar?).  While she is there she gets entangled with a drug smuggling ring, a double agent and her brother's killer.

Too Hot to Handle (1977, Don Schain) features Cheri Caffaro as secret agent Samantha Fox.  Samantha uses her physical prowess and martial arts expertise (yes, again) to kill some gangsters in the Philippines.  She seduces every man she meets and eventually falls for the local policeman who is following the trail of bodies she is leaving.

So in case you couldn't tell, these three movies are all pretty similar, especially Firecracker and TNT Jackson, which are basically the same film.  Regardless, the three leads all do terrific jobs of kicking ass and seducing the villains.  Fortunately the films have enough martial arts action, bloody deaths and good performances to make them all must see pictures.  Plus they all fly by in less than 90 minutes, so there are really no slow parts.  Of the three, I'd probably say TNT Jackson was my favorite, but they are all quality exploitation films.  Special features include a handful of trailers, as well as an audio commentary with Cheri Caffaro.  The prints are all in surprisingly great shape with just enough grain to make them feel authentic.  Shout! Factory did a magnificent job with the transfers and sound, which is becoming expected based on their previous output.  Overall, this set is a must have for martial arts, female revenge, exploitation, cult and B movie fans.   

Firecracker:  8/10
TNT Jackson:  9/10
Too Hot to Handle:  8/10

This set is available directly from Shout! Factory HERE

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