Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hostages (1980)

One of the best exploitation-directors ever out there is Rene Cardona Jr. Yes, without a doubt! I love the man and I love his work. Sure, some stuff has been less than stellar, but he surely knows how to tell a story and bring some glamour into any kind of b-action movie. Tonites choice in the house of Ninja Dixon was an old favourite, the absurdly action-packed Hostages, a movie that very effectively brings three genres together as one Hugo Stiglitz-o-rama macho-fest!

Some thugs rob a casino, but during the getaway they split up and everything are fucked-up. One part of the gang ends up in a nice, expensive neighbourhood where a rich businessman and his family live. They are taken hostages, and now the fight for survival begins! Outside, somewhere, in a nice beard and with a loaded gun, is Hugo Stiglitz on the hunt to kill some criminals!

The script for Hostages is a fantastic mix of stories, all which works way better than they should. First it’s a heist-movie, which goes wrong. Then a car-chase flick, which leads to a terror-flick and then ends like smaller version of Airport 1975! Yes, this script never let a fan of b-action down! Cardona handles the small budget very well, and delivers a lot of action. Shoot-outs, a good car-chase, another chase where Stiglitz ends up on the roof of a speeding bus, nail-biting tension when the family are trying to save themselves, explosions and finally a small airplane out of control, and it’s up to someone on the ground to talk it down! Every cliché in the book, but it’s so damn entertaining.

One of the funniest scenes are when Stiglitz is on the bus (and it seem to be him, no stuntman) and one of the bad guys has an accident and slams into a van beside the road and lands on the ground with the guts all spilled out! That and a lot of nice squibs and some nudity, makes Hostages both an effective thriller in it’s own right, but also a fine slice of exploitation.

A co-production between Mexico, Italy, Spain and Venezuela, this movie has a fine cast: Hugo Stiglitz, Stuart Whitman, Antonella Interlenghi, Marisa Mell and Francisco Rabal. All doing very fine here, another quality of Rene Cardona Jr’s work – always good performances from everyone involved.

Hostages aren’t out on DVD, not officially. I have an old Swedish x-rental and also a US bootleg, which has ok tape-quality (even if the tape is very worn in the middle of the movie). If you find it cheap it’s worth picking up, or just find yourself a tape on eBay.

They don’t make movies like this any more, which is a pity. The world needs Hugo Stiglitz, Stuart Whitman and Rene Cardona Jr to survive, to be able to cope with natural disasters, the upcoming end of the world, famine and animal abuse. Well, maybe not. But they deliver, as usual, a lot of fun entertainment for the moment – which is enough for me.

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