Bullet Points: Street Soldiers
I can’t recall a time when a movie walked the line between one of my standard Bullet Points reviews and one of my What Not To Watch reviews quite the way Street Soldiers did.
I have been debating for days now which direction to go. As you can see I finally settled on not adding this to my dreaded “What Not To Watch” list, not because it is some spectacular film, but because there are so many outrageous and ridiculous moments that they have to be seen to be believed.
- Origin Story: The movie centers around a turf war between rival gangs The JP’s and The Tigers. But how did it all start? Well some high school kids were playing stick ball in an alley, Max the Mouth hit the ball through a window of an old bakery, when the high school kids all decided to scurry away like cockroaches they ran into The JP’s and then a rumble ensued. Soon, the high school kids got organized, began calling themselves The Tigers and wore orange and white varsity jackets.
- Who’s The Hero?: One thing I do want to point out about the movie is the confusion as to who the hero is. I’m going to settle on Troy since he’s the one who ends up with the girl which is a common characteristic among action movie heroes. But the focus is all over the place, at times it seems like Max, leader of The Tigers, is our hero. There’s even a point where it seems like Charles was going to be the main hero. Those of us who wear glasses would have loved to have an action hero who wore them too.
- The Villain: While the hero role may be up for debate, there’s no doubt that the #1 baddie in this film is Priest (Jeff Rector). He is the leader of The JP’s and just got out of jail so he has street cred out the ying yang now. And I believe that Christian Bale used Priest’s voice as the inspiration for his Batman voice. He even has a mute enforcer, so you know he’s got to be the main villain. Street Soldiers does incorporate a dynamic that was used in the G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoons of the 1980’s where the 2nd in Command of the bad guys has the notion that he should be the leader and it causes some friction. In G.I. Joe it was Cobra Commander and Destro. In Transformers it was Megatron and Starscream. In Street Soldiers it is Priest and Spider.
- Swap Meet!: While I am not a gambling man I think it would be a safe bet to say that no other character in cinematic history gets as pumped up and excited about a swap meet as Max the Mouth does in Street Soldiers. His mind is blown as he walks down the aisles with his girlfriend Marie. The swap meet is a key location in the film as Marie bumps into her cousin Julie (the ex- girlfriend of Priest) and there’s a little rumble at the swap meet too but it gets broken up when they hear a voice over the intercom calling swap meet security. I would not have put money on street toughs being scared off by mall cops.
- The School Dance: The dance is where Julie meets Troy. I would like to point out that Troy is Max’s boss. Max invited his manager at work to the high school dance. From what I gather Troy is no longer in high school. And looking back at my own personal experience and the job I had while I was in high school, there’s no way in the world I would have told any of my managers at the time to come hang out with me and my high school friends at the school dance. But anyway… the dance does set up that Priest wants his lady back, Troy falls in love and now this turf war has become much more personal.
- Bakery No More: Remember the old bakery I mentioned at the beginning? Well that bakery is now a karate studio run by Charles’ uncle, Master Han. When a young boy is shot in front of his karate studio by The JP’s, he agrees to teach The Tigers to fight and become an “Iron Circle” to protect their friends and their family and to take down The JP’s once and for all. Master Han is played by Jun Chong, who also wrote the story. Chong was also one of the stars of L.A. Streetfighters. Street Soldiers definitely gave me some L.A. Streetfighters flashbacks at times.
Street Soldiers is not a movie for action movie novices. You want to be an advanced action movie aficionado before you sit down and watch this one. There were times I was tempted to hit stop and cut my losses, but I soldiered on and made it through the end.
If you take the Street Soldiers challenge, here’s a few things you should keep your eyes and ears open for along the way…
- Quotable #1: “Where’s my bitch? Where’s my bitch?” – Priest
- Safe Sex: Before Marie is gang raped by The JP’s they make it a point to have Priest show the condoms they’ll be using.
- The Lair: The JP’s lair kind of reminds me of Fraker’s lair from the greatest movie of all-time, just not as swanky.
- Something Borrowed: For some reason The JP’s have a fake cobra in a gift box that sprays some lethal venom. I instantly wondered if this is where Jake “The Snake” Roberts got the inspiration for his wedding gift for “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth at SummerSlam 91.
- Quotable #2: “Why don’t you do it big man?! I’m sick of wiping your ass!” – Spider
- Use The Force: At one point Master Han is done for the night and leaves Charlie to lock up the karate studio, literally seconds after he leaves The JP’s show up and things don’t look good for Charlie. Master Han, who is now picking up some groceries, either senses a disturbance in The Force or his Spidey sense starts to tingle either way he knows something horrible is happening to Charlie and he races back to the karate studio.
- One Question: What does the JP in The JP’s stand for? I can only assume it stands for The Jolly Panthers. Which is why The Tigers chose the name Tigers, because everyone knows when you ask a tiger what he likes to eat, he will respond with “panther meat”.