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Overall Rating

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Worth A Look: 18.18%
Just Average72.73%
Pretty Crappy: 9.09%
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1 review, 5 user ratings

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Vice Squad
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by Jack Sommersby

"A Passable Tale of Crime"
3 stars

From start to finish, the film is mostly fun and devoid of boring exposition, making it a swift entertainment.

Wings Hauser gives a sensationally menacing performance as the villain of the police thriller Vice Squad, and he's so good that he manages to make up for the film's clunker of a hero played by the mediocre Gary Swanson who plays a Hollywood vice cop looking to bring down Hauser's vicious, murderous pimp. The screenplay certainly isn't much -- the plotting is poor, the characters all run to a simplistic type -- but Hauser possesses innate concentrated intensity and takes what could have been a run-of-the-mill role and manages to make a near-classic out of it. His Ramrod (a perfect name for such a quintessentially violent individual) insists on all-out loyalty from his girls who work the streets, and if it means fatally beating one of them to death when they're "holding out," that's the price of doing business, he reasons. After his main squeeze is murdered, Swanson blackmails the dead woman's best friend, Season Hubley, who's also a hooker, into wearing a wire on Ramrod; it works, but Ramrod escapes police custody and spends the rest of the running time seeking out Hubley for revenge, while Swanson and his unit seek out him. All in all, this is far from tantalizing cinema, but the director, Gary A. Sherman, gives the proceedings a decent amount of pace and control, and his handling of the action sequences is unremarkable but fair; added to which, the great cinematographer John Alcott's work is superb. If the narrative lacks the propelling drive its hard-driving music score emits, that's because the writing is limited with its endless cross-cutting between hero and villain, which leaves too many gaps for the tension to subside. But on the whole everything works the way it's been intended as a no-holds-barred piece of exploitation -- you may want to look away at some of the seedier aspects (like when Ramrod slices off a rival pimp's gonads) but will probably be too pleasurably caught up to do so. And even when Swanson's scenes fail to deliver much of anything (the actor has a mushy, weak voice that doesn't record well at all), there's always Hauser's that are given a jolt of high-wire energy by this marvelous, instinctive thespian who seems incapable of making a false move on the silver screen. He's terrific, and though Vice Squad is a level or two below him, it still remains entertaining enough for the undemanding viewer.

Wings is the man!

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9247&reviewer=327
originally posted: 03/27/07 21:08:05
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User Comments

6/19/17 danR When I realized the movie was still only half done, I packed it in. 2 stars
2/04/13 matthew thompson dalldorf Wings Hauser is one of the best bad guys ever! 4 stars
2/16/06 Jeff Anderson Visually gritty, effective & well made. Hauser is unquestionably a great, great villain! 4 stars
4/21/05 Sugarfoot Solid low budget effort. 3 stars
4/12/04 Jack Sommersby Uneven but highly watchable. Great soundtrack and sensational villain in Hauser. 3 stars
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  02-May-1982 (R)



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