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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
I'm a stone cold believer, in the pleasures of Hell...
"Princess" (Season Hubley) is what is known as an "outlaw" hooker, meaning that she answers to no pimp. She's also the mother of an adorable little girl. She agrees to help intense vice detective Tom Walsh (Gary Swanson) trap a particularly evil pimp with the memorable moniker of "Ramrod" (Wings Hauser). Ramrod is a sadist who enjoys mutilating prostitutes, and has the tenacity of The Terminator. When he realizes that Princess set him up, he becomes determined to get revenge. After he makes an escape from the cops, he spends an action-packed night hunting her down.
"Vice Squad" is a solid credit for the under appreciated director Gary A. Sherman. Sherman had already made two excellent fright features, "Raw Meat" and "Dead & Buried". Loathe to be typecast as a genre director, he took on this project, and does a fine job with it. He gives it great pace and entirely convincing atmosphere. This movie really does immerse its viewers in a seedy L.A. underworld. The characters are often flamboyant but believable. Cinematographer John Alcott gives everything a stylish look. To be sure, the material is plenty sleazy, but that's entirely the point. The script was written by co-executive producer Sandy Howard, Robert Vincent O'Neill (director of the exploitation classic "Angel"), and "Kenneth Peters", a pseudonym for a real life L.A. detective who provided all important technical advice.
The violence is as harsh and off putting as it should be, and there's great curiosity value in discovering the various fetishes and perversions that johns are prone to enjoy.
Hubley is good in the lead role; Princess may take her lumps before the story ends, but she also gives Ramrod a hell of a good fight. Swanson is likewise effective as our hard assed hero. A steady parade of familiar actors play roles big and small: Pepe Serna, Beverly Todd, original MTV VJ Nina Blackwood, Lydia Lei, Kelly Piper, Fred Berry, Michael Ensign, Jonathan Haze, Robert Miano, Stack Pierce, and Cheryl Smith. But the person who leaves the biggest impression is the excellent Hauser, who gives us a creepily charismatic villain for the ages. Furthermore, Wings also entertains us by growling and snarling the ultra catchy rock theme song "Neon Slime".
This is a gem of a B movie: flashy, trashy, and most certainly *not* dull.
Eight out of 10.
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