Bullet Points: Picasso Trigger
If there is one filmmaker that is underappreciated and never truly got his due for making exciting, fun, action movies it is Andy Sidaris. Just think about the name of the series of movies Sidaris made in the 1980s and 90s, Bullets, Bombs, and Babes. If you don’t like all three of those things to be in an action movie you are probably at the wrong website. These films, retroactively titled L.E.T.H.A.L., feature connecting storylines of a secret agency, albeit sometimes with different actors or actors playing different characters. The films also loosely uses the term actors, as the casts were filled with models and martial artists. Luckily for you, I just happen to have some Bullet Points for the 1998 Andy Sidaris film that has always been one of my favorites because of the espionage and piscine title. Join me on a journey to a real feel good movie, Picasso Trigger.
- Picasso Trigger takes places after the events in Malibu Express and Hard Ticket to Hawaii, although you can enjoy without having seen the first two movies. You really don’t need to know much, except some very good looking people are very important people in a government agency. The organization is led by L.G. Abilene (Gooch Koock, American Ninja) and his major players are Travis (Steve Bond), Donna (Dona Speir) and Taryn (Hope Marie Carlton, Bloodmatch.) The plot involves the assassination of Salazar AKA Picasso Trigger (John Aprea) and the revenge of Miguel Ortiz (Rodrigo Obregon.) Like I mentioned, the story isn’t super important, what you need to know is there is no less than three double agents and at least one was a triple agent. You can’t trust anyone in Picasso Trigger, even the movie. Are you telling me that the man the movie is named after dies in the first ten minutes?
- With the death of Picasso Trigger, who incidentally took that name based on a painting of the fish of the same name, there is power void in the criminal underworld with the different factions vying for power. L.G. sends his team to take out potential threats. L.G. also brings in Pantera (Roberta Vasquez) a double agent that was working with Salazar. Donna doesn’t trust Pantera from the very start which is a major clue somebody might not be who they seem. The agents are usually paired up in two, which gives plenty of time to practice and get to know each other… if you know what I mean. The kills are pretty entertaining, especially when most of the cast is not known for fight scenes… let alone acting. However, Jade is one of the agents and is played by kickboxer extrordinaire Harold Diamond which gives some real legitimacy to the fights (Diamond was also the martial arts choreographer.) What I really want to know is that if they teach defenestrating a man from the top floor of a high rise and gouging another man’s eyes out in kickboxing school?
- If there is one area that Picasso Trigger excels it is blowing up different types of vehicles. The movie doesn’t go five minutes without something blowing up… or a scene highlighting the lovely cast. Peep this list of vehicles that get obliterated in Picasso Trigger, a sailboat, motorcycle, car, hovercraft, remote control car, and remote control plane. Many of the explosions take place after chase scenes with a particular favorite of mine being the boat chase in the swamp with the corresponding swamp chase music. If explosions are not your bag, Picasso Trigger has gunfights with your traditional firearms, but also some shootouts with a spear gun and a crutch gun… that is a gun built into a crutch. Not all the weapons make sense, particularly the exploding boomerang, which is a bomb attached to a boomerang. Why would you want that to come back? If it is not supposed to come back, why is it a boomerang?
Picasso Trigger is must watch for anyone who will prefer a good looking cast and over the top action over acting ability and plot. There is enough intrigue and espionage in Picasso Trigger to keep you interested, and one or two twists that you might not see coming. Seriously though, if you think there is a movie titled Picasso Trigger and that the character dies in the first ten minutes and that is the last we hear of him I envy you. If you think the Picasso Trigger Bullet Points is going to end without Bonus Bullet Points I must disappoint you.
- Bunnies Galore – Andy Sidaris preferred a particular type of actress when casting his films. Good looking women who aren’t opposed to on screen nudity trumps acting ability any day and in the 1980’s there was no better place to find these women than in the pages of Playboy Magazine. The Playmates of the Month in Picasso Trigger include Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Roberta Vasquez, Cynthia Brimhall, Kym Malin, Patty Duffek and Liv Lindeland.
- “It Happened” – He is not credited, but I am pretty sure famed sportscaster Jim Lampley does the voiceover work on the radio. This would make sense because Andy Sidaris started out as a director and producer of sports television on ABC, famously with the Jim Lampley hangout Wide World of Sports.
- Best Sad Trombone Moment – “Is that a snorkel in his pocket or is he just happy to see me?” SPOILER ALERT… it actually was just a snorkel.
- Best Post Kill Quip – “I got a black belt in shotgun.”
- It’s Tough Out There for a Spy – “Did you know I had rug burn on my rear for a week?”
- Familiar Faces – Be on the lookout for multi-talented martial artist Keith Cooke (credited as Keith Hirabayashi, Heatseeker) as Clayton, kickboxing legend Dennis Alexio (Kickboxer) as Toshi Lum, and Andy Sidaris himself making one doozy of a putt.
- Familiar Places – Like most of Andy Sidaris’ films, Hawaii and Shreveport, LA were the locations for most of the filming, even if not set in those locations. Las Vegas was also thrown in to add some spice.