A Los Angeles businesswoman, known only by her street name of Princess, turns to prostitution to support herself and her young daughter when she's forced by Detective Tom Walsh and his vice... See full summary »
A Los Angeles businesswoman, known only by her street name of Princess, turns to prostitution to support herself and her young daughter when she's forced by Detective Tom Walsh and his vice squad to help them arrest a brutal pimp named Ramrod for the murder of a prostitute named Ginger. But when Ramrod learns that he was set up, he escapes from police custody and begins a long night of tracking down Princess while Walsh and his vice squad are always one step behind him. Written by
Gary Sherman's "Vice Squad" is all show, but powerfully biting and sordid exploitation of the seedy strip of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard when the sun finally goes down. For such luridly unpleasant context, the film manages to amuses with rousing suspense, sharply-witted (if foul) script and its authentically raw atmosphere. Even the performances figure prominently. Wing Hauser deservedly dominates the limelight as the frighteningly, aggressive pimp Ramrod. His turn is that of pure spontaneous and nightmarish intensity. Truly hard to forget. Gary Swanson's courageously humane performance as Detective Walsh, the leader of the 'Vice squad' is downright solid, and there's a confidently brassy and strong-willed go-it-alone portrayal by Season Hubley as the prostitute Princess that Ramrod is after for setting him up. The support cast racks up recognizable bit players (Pepa Serna, Beverly Todd, Maurice Emanuel, Nina Blackwood, Michael Ensign, Cheryl Smith, Fred Berry and the list goes on) of rich characterisations. Sherman's sensationally gripping direction doesn't let up or beat around the bush, as he cranks up the energy and brutality. Still there's a slickly professional manner about it, and cinematographer John Alcott shots it with great ticker, and stylish verve. The screeching rock title track "Neon Slime" sung by Hauser sets the tone, and the saucy score has a feverish pitch that enhances the downbeat atmosphere and daring intensity.
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