switchblade sisters

“On my planet this shirt attracts the females of my species.”

I’m not what you call a proficient grocery shopper. I don’t stock up on coupons or scan through the Sunday paper looking for the latest deals on canned tuna and toasted Wheat Thins. I only know it’s time to shop when I can no longer make a full meal from the refrigerator’s remaining survivors.. usually some condiments, a jar of olives, and a box of baking soda. So putting on a coat over my PJ’s I’d head out for that late night grocery run.

Late nights food runs you’d often find the store empty of customers so it was difficult to even find a checkout lady to wave me over to her conveyor belt. This time I was forced to confront the newest shopping breakthrough that was the new self checkout machine. Hey I’m a man of the world, a technology connoisseur, I could surely conquer this fancy slot machine wanna-be. First the Cheetos bag wouldn’t scan and when it did, It told me I bought 25 bags worth forever bestowing me the title “the crazy Cheetos guy.” Then placing the items in the bag a condescending computer voice would keep telling me to “Please place the item in the bag”… “Oh you mean the item that’s already in the bag?” The computer didn’t seem to understand any sense of irony. My arms had grown weak from the numerous failed attempts at scanning some cantaloupe and the Fonzi method of banging the machine on the side didn’t seem to help any so eventually a technician had to show me where to put my crinkled dollar bills. Who would have thought groceries need IT support.

I thought technology was supposed to make things easier. When was it decided that “easier” was just do it yourself? Self-serve gas station, ATM banking, and self scanning checkout lines, these are advances in modern convenience? No I want someone else to do this for me because I’m American and laziness is my God given constitutional right. if you’re not going to give me a real person to do the job then at least give me a robot. This 2009 after all, I should have my own jetpack and hover car by now. I shouldn’t be standing in my PJ’s swipping cans of lima beans while a lady in a purple mu mu waits behind me with her big box of glazed chick peas. Next time I will just go when a friendly cashier lady is available that will gladly talk with me about the weather as she scans my groceries while perfectly bagging things so my bread isn’t crushed by the 2 gallon mayonnaise jar and bag of ice (Hey I like potato salad and it was hot that night.)

Do you have tickets to the gun showSpeaking of ladies that excel at their jobs. Switchblade sisters introduces us to a gang of street-wise ladies called the Dagger Debs who’ve made a career at beating up elevator passengers and picking fights at the local Dairy Queen. The Debs are led by Lace, a high-strung snappy dresser who works out her dialog through clenched teeth like she’s got a case of lock jaw. She and her gal pals beat up a helpless landlord, go jay walking,  and then take a break at the ice cream shop. Here they run into a cute blondie named Maggie who is hogging one of their favorite seats. Maggie’s your sorta typical girl next door…if your typical girl is packin’ heat and has inner rage issues. Little do they know she’s the kind of girl that will cut you deep for even looking at her Oreo Blizzard the wrong way so she slices one of the gang members across the face with a knife. The police suddenly show up like a swat team before it can turn really ugly. Apparently a doughnut shop was very close by.

The Debs all end up in a juvenile detention center where some big burly lady wardens try to make the night moves on the new girls but end up getting the snot beat out of them instead. Maggie is finally freed from juvi-jail but has an even worse time on the outside when she’s raped by Lace’s boyfriend Dom. Dom is the leader of another powerful gang called the Silver daggers, a ruthless gang of thugs who resemble the cast from Welcome Back Kotter and enjoy playing billiards between felonies. Lace trusts Maggie and invites her to join the Debs not knowing that her and Dom just did the nasty at her apartment the night before. The resident cyclops “Patch” happily points out that Maggie has to be initiated first before becoming a true Deb and then starts whining about how she “lost her eye for this gang.” But really, how can you take a pirate seriously?

The New Chevy VoltThey send her on a mission to recover a toy prop necklace from a rival gang leader who goes by the unfortunate name of crabs. Great way to impress the ladies when you’re named after a venereal disease. Crab runs a fake community center where they give out narcotics under the disguise as vitamin pills so that he can buy even more hideous shirts for his wardrobe. Maggie stops by at their headquarters and  pretends to be attracted to Mr. Crabs which is probably the most impressive acting you’ll see in the whole film. In the middle of her seduction act she bites him on his Shootzle Deetzle, grabs the necklace and breaks through a office wall like the Koolaid man. Maggie returns to the Debs triumphant with her newly won trophy. Now there’s no questioning Maggie’s loyalty  with her ability to steal novelty prop jewelry.

Later on the Debs and the Daggers are vengefully ambushed by the Crab gang at the local rollerskating rink.  Lace gets punched in the baby maker whose oven was already preheated with Dom’s unborn kid and Dom gets a shotgun blast to the belly by the big Red Lobster himself. Maggie and Lace have to leave him to bleed to death in the center rink while Donna Summers music still blares on… a truly horrifying fate for anyone.

Maggie and Lace decide they want to avenge Dom’s death so they enlist some black power lady militants who drive pimped out armored Cadillacs and get their kicks making white hippies in disco shirts run and scream like little girls. I think that’s something anyone can really enjoy though. But not everything is as it seems there’s plot twists a plenty as jealously and secrets are threatening to destroy the gang. Who set up whom, who had an affair with who…who is loyal to whom. And when should the word whom actually be used in a sentence? It all ends up in a good old dance of death with switchblade divas giving us a great Shakespearean twist to this little exploitation romp.

Tarantino released this as his second film in his Rolling Thunder film series so be sure to check out his intro and outro on the DVD extras. His movie clerk geekiness clearly shows as he talks in great detail about the film and why they changed the name from The Jezebels to Switchblade Sisters. You can tell he was just up late one night at the videostore wired up on Jujubes and diet Coke while watching it. Also Keep an eye out for Don Stark who plays Hook. Yes it’s the same Don Stark that played Bob Picnciotti in that 70’s show and by gosh he still had the same hair and side burns. A great cheesy exploitation film, Retroman says check it out and be sure to be packin some heat.

– Multiple gang shootings
– 1 neck stabbing
– Medallion-fu
– Wacka-chicka-wacka fu
– Welcome Back Kotter doppelgangers
– Dairy Queen Dagger Queens
– Face plunging
– Swirly-fu
– Vita-van vandals
– Cadi-tanks
– Bellybutton ashtrays

Rated 8.9 out of 10

Check out the trailer for Switchblade Sisters