Avenging Angel (1985)

avengingangelThe saga of Angel the prostitute with the heart of gold and a thirst for vengeance reaches new levels of camp with “Avenging Angel.” While “Angel” wasn’t exactly high art, “Avenging Angel” makes the former film look like a John Ford Western by comparison. That’s not to say “Avenging Angel” is an awful movie. It’s just so deliriously stupid and absurd, and I couldn’t help but enjoy everything from the goofy protagonists we have to root for, to the shoddy stunt work. If you liked the transvestite fighting off the serial killer in “Angel,” prepare for two transsexuals getting in to a fist fight with two armed thugs. Try not to notice the stunt doubles wearing bad wigs during the fight scene.

Also try not to laugh as Angel and her posse try to trade a corpse for heroine Solly’s adopted baby, the “corpse” flinches twice during a climactic shoot out. That’s only the icing on the cake of what is a laugh riot that’s just as tonally confused as the original film. Set four years after the first film, the heroic Lt. Andrews has paid Molly’s way through school and she’s succeeded in graduating and pursing a career in law. During a big shoot out, Andrews is murdered, leaving Molly angry and ready for revenge. Returning to the California strip, she reconnects with old friends Solly, and Kit Carson, and they form their own demented mod squad, intent on putting the kibosh on a group of gangsters.

They intend to buy up the strip and strong arm a lot of the colorful community out of their businesses. In her search for Andrews’ murderer, Molly takes an underage prostitute under her wing, anxious to get her back home and away from the streets. All the while the group is seemingly untouchable against an endless army of inept mobsters. Betsy Russell is gorgeous and does a solid job of filling in for Molly Stewart. Russell takes the role with a stern conviction even during go nowhere sub-plots tacked on for the sake of sanctimonious overtones about the dead end life of prostitution.

Like “Angel,” this follow up is never sure if its exploitation, a revenge thriller, or camp, so it tries for pretty much everything. In fact, the narrative is so lopsided, there’s a whole twenty minute segment devoted to Angel and Solly trying to break Kit Carson out of an asylum, with costumes changes, and a goofy foot chase through the hospital. It’s woefully out of place for a movie about a prostitute tracking down criminals for revenge. That said, “Avenging Angel” is much too silly and off the wall to write off; while the “Angel” follow definitely suffers from terrible direction and horrible editing, it’s at least a fun new direction in the character’s journey.