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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Savage Harbor - Savage Harbor( Blu Ray) [Vinegar Syndrome - 2019]

So do you enjoy inept, bumbling, and often thickly cheese layered 1980’s bad action cinema?!…then you’ll lap-up Savage Harbor like a coked-up mad man. What we have here is glorious pile-up of dumb mulleted heroes, croaky & sleazed bad guys, and ditsy broads who are either getting beaten, in sexy underwear or taking their tops off. All rippled with cack-handed fighting, silly gun play & badly timed squib explosion,over long dwells in toe-curling & overtly soft focused romantic moments, and sudden dips into cheap screen effects, & one moment of what-the-hell 80’s surrealisms. On Vinegar Syndrome here's a tasty Blu ray reissue of the film- featuring VS classy new scan of the film, a few extras, a groovy & glossy double-sided poster, and a neat thick card slip-sleeve.

Savage Harbor( aka Savage Harbour, Death Feud, Slammers, Raggedy Anne) was the sixth & final film written and directed by LA-based Carl Monson(Blood Legacy, The Takers, Please Don't Eat My Mother!, A Scream in the Streets)- it appeared just a year before his death in 1987. The film is fairly competently filmed, scoped & edited(mostly)- but what makes the whole thing sing in a great bad movie manner is the badly executed action sequences, extremely clichéd character types, badly corny one lines, and more than enough big hair & mullets to shake several sticks at.

 The film features in its lead roles Frank Stallone(Sylvester less charismatic brother) and Christopher Mitchum(Roberts second son)- they play Joe, and Bill- who are merchant sailors. While on shore leave Joe (Stallone) managers to save English prostitute, Anne, from the clutches of a leering middle age man- as she was trying to escape from the croaky, large, and aging crime boss Harry(Anthony Caruso). Seemingly within the blink of an eye and with one of the most bizarre chat up lines of all time ‘do you like avocados’!-the pair are deeply in love, and we get around ten minutes of wonderful obnoxious, overly soft-focused, at extremely fun ‘in-love’ footage- we get the pair awkward frolicking in the grass, all tongue kiss in front of sunsets, slow-monition embraces,  etc. In the meantime, long mulleted Bill( Mitchem) is hooking up with his local bars stripper, who wears mini Santa hats to her nipples while dancing.

Fairly soon the pair are off to sea once more, and when they return six weeks later- Joe’s love has been kidnapped by Harry's heavies, put back on smack- and is having sex with clients who she often thinks are Joe in her drugged state. And you guess it- it’s down to our two ‘heroes’ to get Joe's love back from the clutches of Harry, and basically save the day. So as the plot goes on we return regularly to a few locations- the pairs local bar, a seedy hotel run by a chubby queen where Joes love used to reside, and Harry’s boat.  Both Stallone & Mitchum are often as flat as a slate, through Mitchum does have a  some slight charm & glimmer in his eye- clearly knowing Savage Harbor is terrible. The pair get into cack-handed & bad choreograph fist fights, silly shot-out with badly dubbed gunshots & badly time squib explosions, & trying  tough guy banter with the local's bars terrible clichéd African American bar owner. Along the way, we get shots of Joe's girlfriend neon-lit bedroom, which for some odd reason has an office water cooler in it. A WTH flashback- which finds her topless on a bridge screaming, smashing mirrors & getting leered at by her elderly father. Harry’s amusing & often bumbling henchmen getting in flights, Harry leaching over women in his boat- oh and Joes face plaster, which makes regular appearances in the film after he gets beaten up…but shows not cuts or bruises.  I really can't recall enjoying & chuckling so much at a bad-action film in some time, and  really it’s up there with the likes of The Executioner Part II ( also on VS) , Dangerous Men & Miami Connection.


Moving onto this new release, and this is the first time the films been given a digital release- from the outset you can see once again VS have weaved their magic with the 2k scan of the film- as everything looks so crisp, defined & even- the reds & blue particular pop through-out the films, as does the soft-focused- making them feel even more cheese bound.  On the extras side, we get two stand-alone interviews- the first an on-camera interview with Stallone, which finds him discussing his experience with the film's actors- he became a life long friends with Mitchum, and had an affair with his female love interest. He goes onto talk about how bad the film is, and other bad films he was in- he comes across well, and good humored about his experience with the film- this interview runs at fifteen minutes. The second interview is with the film's cinematographer Jack Beckett- this is a twenty-seven-minute audio interview, and Beckett certainly is a character. He starts discussing about  been pushed into the film world by his father after he failed to become a dentist, and been embittered about it- he moves onto talking about his career in general, then talking about his experience with Savage Harbour & other films he did with Carl Monson- he has some great stories from the set, like Mitchum wouldn’t kiss his female co-star as she was a sex worker, and he was worried about all the cocks she’s sucked!- all in all, it’s an great & at times amusing interview.

The release, like VS recent reissue of Evil Town, features a specially designed, bottom loading VHS inspired slipcase- this is made of sturdy card- taking in the films two different posters- one with Stallone & Mitchum faces on either side of a gun barrel, and one featuring a women running, explosions & the pair look mean & moody with a gun- the slip also features glossy yellow texts on the back, front & spine. It’s  a hand number edition of 2’500 copies. The poster art gets recreated on a glossy double-sided fold-out poster inside, which features the films tag line ‘Alone they’re dangerous…together they’re a nightmare’- we also get the classic VS reversible cover on the blu ray.

Savage Harbor is another great cheese-bound slice of action pie from Vinegar Syndrome- it’s often funny, silly, though always compelling in its badness. Of course, if you're looking for a straight action film-  going from the films title, plot & tag line promises- you’ll be most disappointed, but if you enjoy ‘so-bad-it’s-good movies’ you’ll really have a hell of a time here.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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