Lovely But Deadly (1981) Poster

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Lamely but divertingly (Useless but interesting)
freydis-e16 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The review contains small spoilers but a movie like this has no big surprises anyway. The acting and screenplay are poor throughout and the pointless musical interludes excruciating. The idea, a high-school senior battling a drugs organisation alone because the cops are useless and the school staff corrupt or ineffective, is certainly interesting. But as the film 'progresses', it turns out that's all there is to it.

Little-known Lucinda Dooling in the lead isn't bad at all (though she doesn't have much competition). In a powerful opening scene, she overpowers a minor drug dealer and holds him helpless, while calmly forcing him to eat his own stash. A strong and disturbing representation of a schoolgirl, which promises a lot, especially as the movie is full of sleazy sexist characters, crying out for the same treatment or worse. Sadly it's all downhill from here. Dooling copes OK in her fight scenes, which are reasonably well-staged, but they are poorly thought out: at one point three heavies run away from her, later the same men overpower her easily – just whatever the 'plot' requires; there's a lot of shooting, but no-one ever hits anything; when women fight men, it's all kick-ass karate, when the same women fight other women, it's all ineffective rolling around, mostly in plates of messy food.

The long action finale is particularly poor, with endless running around, shooting and missing, and driving speedboats in circles, all for no reason, and the hero is given no worthwhile opponent at the end. But to be fair to an otherwise somewhat sexploitative movie, she never needs rescuing, and has no male assistance at any point.

If you can find this going cheap, it's worth the price to watch those terrific first five minutes and imagine what might have been. (Or watch it on Youtube – it was there at time of posting this review.)
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Duncan Gosseyn9 April 2015
I saw a few clips of Lovely But Deadly online and I just had to see it all so I got the VHS on eBay. It isn't a good movie but it's pretty entertaining. Lucinda Dooling is absolutely, um, lovely as Lovely. It really is too bad she wasn't in many other movies. The rest of the cast is okay. The writing isn't too bad, although there are definitely quite a few scenes that are unintentionally funny and the real jokes are only funny because they aren't funny: "I think you guys are too pushy." "Pushy? I'll show you pushy" *Gives first guy a light shove*. But I think the scene with the cat fight at the costume party and the scene where this one guy is steamed to death in a cardboard box (among some others) place Lovely But Deadly firmly in so-bad-it's-good territory. And as one of those kinds of movies it succeeds and that's why I'm giving it a 10/10.

Some other reviewers here have noted that the score is kind of James Bond-like, and I must admit it does sound kind of discount-John Barryish. There's even a catchy song that plays during the opening credits. This movie kind of reminded me of the James Bond series in a few other ways. The ending in which the cheerleaders beat up a bunch of guards working for the bad guy kind of reminded me of the end of Octopussy, in which circus performer ladies beat up Kamal Khan's guards. Actually, Lovely But Deadly came out two years before Octopussy. Of course, I'm guessing the writers of the thirteenth James Bond movie probably never saw (let alone heard) of Lovely But Deadly. Also, Gomorrah (Seriously?) kind of reminded me of Jaws. Kind of.

It's too bad Lovely But Deadly hasn't had a Blu-Ray release like some other cheesy low-budget movies from the '80s.
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Very cheesy action flick with some funny scenes.
HumanoidOfFlesh15 December 2014
Mary Ann Lovett((Lucinda Dooling)is called by her friends Lovely.Her younger brother drowns in a drug related accident.Mary becomes angry and decides to stop drugs in her high school via martial arts."Lovely But Deadly" was directed by David Sheldon,who also directed quite effective horror flick "Devil Times Five" in 1974.The acting is amateurish but full of enthusiasm and the fight scenes are unintentionally funny.I loved girl fight scene between Mary Ann Lovett and some blond cheerleader during the party.The film is quite violent but not bloody at all.The body count in this supremely cheesy vigilante flick is surprisingly low.If you enjoyed "Coffy" with Pam Grier you can give "Lovely But Deadly" a look.7 karate cheerleaders out of 10.
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glorious cheese -- and a very sexy scene
chris91920 June 2006
One scene in 'Lovely but Deadly' has rightly become legendary among those who go for this sort of thing. Lucinda Dooling, her startlingly cut (for 1981) muscles rippling, subdues the high school pusher, forcing him to take an overdose of his "own medicine," all the while speaking to him in the calmest, sweetest tones imaginable, absolutely in control.

The rest of the film is good cheesy fun -- best watched with some buddies and a six pack -- but the one scene is dangerous erotica. We have never really had a genuinely tough movie heroine who caught on with the general public (although Kathy Long, Jillian Kesner and Lucinda Dickey certainly had the stuff) and "Lovely But Deadly" stands as the one claim Dooling might have had for this title.
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Literally "EVERYBODY was Kung Fu fighting" those days
Clarence Abernathy26 March 2002
An all-white moralistic remake of "Coffy" (the 1973 Pam Grier blaxploitation classic), presenting karate-ing cheerleaders and highschool girls, evil drug dealers, a little catfight and lots of unintentional laughs. The opening credits of "Lovely But Deadly" are presented over a static shot of a high-school dance in 1981. The music, being performed and orchestrated in a 007-like style, sounds outdated, exaggerated and does not fit in the cheesy late 70s sets in the background. The sweet rotten smell of campiness instantly rushes in. "How low can they go?.../ How high can they fly?" - that's what the title song lyrics say and that's what you're starting to ask yourself. "Lovely But Deadly" is about a young lady named Mary Ann Lovett (an admittedly real cute brunette named Lucinda Dooling) and her friends just call her Lovely. In the beginning, her brother drowns in a ridiculously far fetched drug-related accident. Angry as hell, Lovely decides to stop drugs in her high school, starting with killing "Captain Magic," the only really likable character so far, who has some incredible dialogue before Lovely stuffs drugs down his throat and he dies. Dead too quick. The next bad guys will be treated to better visual effect: let's get some martial arts action into the movie. Well, Lovely and all the other girlie fighters have obviously been trained in the secret arts by just watching a half-minute-preview of some Hongkong flick. So we get to see sheer incredibly clumsy fight scenes. Well, after all "everybody was Kung Fu fighting" those days... Talking of music: There is also a Rock Band in the movie, because Lovely's cheesy boyfriend is the lead singer of a band of smartasses who, during a class and out of the blue, are performing (poorly dubbed) a truly "electrifying" love song. All in all, a genuine classic of poor white drive-in trash. Yet probably too bad to ever get some cult approach.
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A Real Gem
Mark-12914 December 2001
Lucinda Dooling portrays Mary Ann "Lovely" Lovett, an over-age High School student who uses her martial arts skills to battle the vicious drug ring responsible for the death of her younger brother. Although the film is ultra low budget, the fighting scenes amateurish and the acting non existent, this little film is a real find. Backed by an energetic "James Bond-like musical score, "Lovely" is powered by charm and enthusiasm. The cast of unknowns tries hard and the script is on occasion entertaining, if not witty. Although to be honest, a bigger confrontation between Lovely and the drug ring's mastermind at the very end would have really improved the final product.

Lucinda Dooling's acting mainly consists of grimacing at the camera, but shows enough presence that I was disappointed to find she has only made a handful of screen appearances.
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Lucinda Dooling looks great and fights great
TD9 October 1999
An absolute classic for fans of mixed fighting. Actually, this is my favorite film of all time. A Young lady goes after a gang of drug dealers to get revenge for the drug related death of her brother. There are many nice mixed fight scenes in the movie. The greatest scene of all is after Lucinda has beat up a pusher, she pins his arms under her knees behind his back and rubs his throat forcing him to drink his own drugs. Simply awesome.
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Enjoyable adventure movie as cute teen beats up drug dealers
Baldy-1325 March 1999
Lovely uses sexual attraction to trap drug dealers. Once she exposes them she beats them up and leaves them for police.
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