Bitch Slap – Review

The premise of Bitch Slap is promising… Three girls journey to a remote hideaway in the desert to reclaim 200 million in diamonds that a ruthless underworld figure stole from them. The deliberately sets out to fit in with the B movie homage to exploitation films made popular in recent times by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse.

The difference between Bitch Slap and Grindhouse is obvious almost from the start of the film. Bitch Slap starts with a quotation by Joseph Conrad on the nature of wickedness, similar to how Kill Bill starts with a quotation about revenge. The difference, however, is that Tarantino did this in a very tongue in cheek manner – the Kill Bill quotation is actually an ‘ancient Klingon Proverb’ – but Bitch Slap takes itself too seriously and uses a quotation from an author famed for his novels about the trails of the human spirit. As well as this, Grindhouse, especially Death Proof, is well crafted, carefully scripted and painstakingly put together. Bitch Slap, on the other hand, feels as though it was cobbled together in a rush. The characters are not developed in any way; they are superficial – even with the long and complex back-stories that are created for them. The story is thin at best; the film tries to make up for this by having lengthy flashbacks which, over the space of the movie, become more confusing and unnecessary.

The film tries hard to pay homage to the sexploitation films of times gone by, but before you get excited, this is no Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! Yes, the film features three hot as all hell women who shed a lot of clothes in very slow motion, have a water fight and generally kick each other’s asses, when they are not making out, but the film is not able to find the balance between an homage and the corny.

It would be easy to say that this film is reminiscent of the exploitation genre, but there is something lost in translation. The performances are the hammiest seen on screen in a long time, the green screen effects are dreadful and there is a character who seems to have Tourettes Syndrome just for the sake of it. There are not enough of the things that make exploitation films great – sex, nudity, blood and gratuitous violence – in Bitch Slap. The film touches on them but does not go far enough to make it work, which is disappointing, seeing as these great exploitation films are referenced in the opening credits, giving the illusion that Bitch Slap could fit in with them. There is a point where the envelope should have been pushed, but it was left firmly on the wrong side of the exploitation line.

The film is not good enough to be really good and not bad enough to be good bad; it hits somewhere in between. That said though, if you don’t much care for story and want to see three girls kick the stuffing out of each other, while looking damn good, this could be the film for you.

GS Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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