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
The thriller that brought Wings Hauser to the attention of film-makers and audiences as the manipulative, sadistic, and psychopathic pimp preying on his meal tickets with callous ambivalence. Season Hubley is the call-girl who has Hauser arrested, Swanson the detective, but before they can indict him, he's on the loose like a wild animal, out for revenge.
Hauser's intense portrayal of the urban cowboy with a seriously mean streak is probably his best role to date; edgy and offbeat, exuding charm and an omnipotence that masks a violent alter ego and hair-trigger temper - the scene in which he uses electrocution to enforce his authority is quite shocking (no pun intended).
Often dismissed as a sleaze-a-thon, and rarely referred any credit, "Vice Squad" was one of a number of films in the early eighties that dealt with the fringe sex industry and the shadowy figures that make it a dangerous profession. The cast is full of familiar faces with Beverly Todd as Hubley's ill-fated friend and confidante, Rainbeaux Smith (in one of her last roles) as a working girl, Stack Pierce, Jonathan Haze and Grand L.Bush in minor roles.
Not an emulation of the DePalma stylings (e.g. "Body Double"), it's volatile and gritty in atmosphere, more a match with "Cruising" or the subsequent slasher movies "New York Ripper" and "Fear City" in its downcast, brutal tone, director Sherman has got lucky with Hauser achieving such a memorable characterisation, surely among the most notorious of screen villains in the annals of film history.
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