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Since we're discussing Andy Sidaris here, it hardly needs be said that among the assets involved are beautiful island scenery, equally gorgeous women who sometimes take off their tops, lots of action, and a generous dose of humour to let us know that this is all in fun, and that none of this is ever meant to be taken that seriously.
This viewer personally loves stories of the "assembling characters for a mission" variety, and Drew is there to narrate and therefore talk our way through the plot, giving us essential information. It's quite an engaging example of this sort of story, with excellent pacing and a fair amount of hard-hitting violence. Plus, it's not entirely unrealistic in the way that the mission won't go 100% smoothly.
Bright, sunny photography by a D.P. identified only as "Quito", and a vibrant music score (which may be stock music since there's no composer credited) help to make this superior entertainment. The aforementioned sense of humour extends to the movies' most memorable gag, when a hero eliminates a sword-wielding villain by simply shooting him, the same gag later made famous in "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
A rich assortment of familiar faces - Reggie Nalder ('Salem's Lot' '79), Seth Sakai ('Hawaii Five-O'), Lenny Montana ("The Godfather"), Martin Kove ("The Karate Kid"), Terry Kiser ("Weekend at Bernie's"), John Alderman ("New Year's Evil"), and Tadashi Yamashita ("American Ninja") - further adds to the good vibes.
Classic exploitation entertainment, and one of Sidaris' best efforts.
Eight out of 10.
You can always count on his movies for a little action, a little intrigue and...say it with me...a little skin.
Flicks like "Seven", for example. This one features a covert team led by William "Big Bill" Smith who is out to kill off the baddies threatening the peace-loving government of Hawaii. Of course, there's always plenty of time to show some dynamic women in all their glory along with the maiming and killing.
But if your movie diet consists of films of this ilk, you could do a lot worse than "Seven". In fact, a lot worse.
TIDBIT - This movie features the famous gag seen a couple of years later in "Raiders of the Lost Ark", where a guy is beset by a swordsman and simply draws a gun and shoots the blade-wielding baddie dead. Not bad.
Seven stars. Who woulda guessed?
Freelance mercenary Drew Savano (Smith) is called in by a government agent to wipe out mobsters bent on taking over the state of Hawaii. For a fee of $7 million dollars, Savano assembles seven specialists (hence the title), each with a different talent, to take on the mission. Though it takes a bit long for us to be introduced to each character and assigned their individual targets, it's worth the wait to watch just how these specialists- The Dragster, The Professor, The Indian, The Playmate, The Cowboy, The Comic, The Black Belt- will take out their quarry.
This movie won't remind anyone of Hamlet. Laughable dialog and various unconvincing characters (looking at Ed Parker with his bad hair and pot belly you'd never know the guy was a martial arts legend) make this more tongue-in-cheek than anything else, but it's just this approach- it's a "B" movie after all- that makes "Seven" an enjoyable watch. Lenny Montana, Art Medrano and Reggie Nalder are among the notable character actors lending their talents to "Seven". There's gorgeous former Playmate Susan Kiger and actress Barbara Leigh in bikinis for most of the movie. And Kwan Hi Lim, who seemingly appeared in every Hawaiian/Polynesian/Asian themed show covering two decades, skillfully portrays his usual oily villain.
Fun stuff from Andy Sidaris. Seven stars for "Seven"!
Director Andy Sidaris keeps the enjoyable story moving along at a quick pace, makes nice use of various breathtaking sunny Hawaiian locations, maintains a fairly gritty and serious tone throughout, adds a few inspired wacky touches (for example, there's a crossbow-wielding goon on a skateboard), stages a bunch of exciting and explosive last reel action with skill and flair, and presents a bevy of beautiful babes in bikinis or less (of course). The fine cast of familiar faces helps a lot: Barbara Leigh as the sultry Alexa, Guich Koock as jolly redneck Cowboy, Christopher Joy as the easygoing T.K., Art Metrano as wisecracking smartaleck Kincella, ace martial artist Ed Parker as himself, Martin Kove as lethal henchman Skip, Lenny Montana as fearsome head honcho the Kahuna, Reggie Nalder as mean loan shark the Hermit, and Terry Kiser as a wishy-washy senator. Foxy blonde Playboy Playmate Susan Kiger provides a tasty eyeful in a variety of skimpy outfits (and bares her lovely breasts a few times as well!). Quito's bright cinematography gives this picture a pleasing slick and sparkling look. The funky-throbbing score hits the get-down groovy spot. A fun B-grade flick.
PS - It's essentially Hard Ticket to Hawaii, made eight years before Andy would make that movie and then essentially make it better over and then make it better again and again.
Lenny Montana (the former pro wrestler and legitimate mobster who played Luca Brasi in The Godfather) is The Big Kahuna, the mob boss who has taken over the island. He also has Martin Kove, the evil karate instructor from The Karate Kid on board as his bodyguard.
These are amongst the prettiest women that Sidaris ever had one of his casts - original Vampirella model Barbara Leigh and three-time Playboy covergirl Susan Kiger (she's also in H.O.T.S.) - yet it's also the least sex he's ever had in one of his films. Plus, bellydancer Little Egypt shows up. I realize the incongruity of a burlesque dancer showing up in a movie that's not as sexy as his other films. If you're a Sidaris fan, you'll understand.
It's also one of the last movies that American International Pictures would release before being rebranded as Filways Pictures before they put out Brian DePalma's Dressed to Kill.
As stated before, this movie forms the basis for nearly every one of Sidaris' later films. The character of The Professor would reappear again in Picasso Trigger, but that time, he wouldn't try to bring a blow-up doll into an airport.
There are plenty of great deaths here. Mob bosses get thrown out windows, blown up real good with bombs in their crotches, via hand-glider hand grenade, covered with gasoline and shot with a flare gun, as well as at least two deaths by rocket launcher. For me, it ranks really high on my list of Andy's films.
This movie was unreleased on home video until 2018, when Kino Lorber finally put it out on blu ray.