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Black Scorpion

USA 1995
produced by
Mike Elliott, Roger Corman (executive), Lance H. Robbins (executive) for Concorde, New Horizon/Showtime
directed by Jonathan Winfrey
starring Joan Severance, Bruce Abbott, Garrett Morris, Rick Rossovich, Casey Siemaszko, Ed Gilber, Darryl M.Bell, Terri J.Vaughn, Stephen Lee, Paula Trickey, John Sanderford, Anita Hart, Rosine 'Ace' Hatem, Ashley Peldon, Matt Roe, Janelle Paradee, Michael Wiseman, Bradford Tatum, Steven Kravitz, Shane Powers, Rick Tyler Barnes, Kurt D.Lott, Anthony Kramme, Rodman Flender, Rick Dean
written by Craig J. Nevius, music by Kevin Kiner, special effects by Bob Farnham, Perry Harovas

TV-pilot
Black Scorpion

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Darcy (Joan Severance) is a cop, just like her dad (Rick Rossovich) was - until he got fired for accidently shooting a doctor (Casey Siemaszko) during a hostage situation. One day, while Darcy and dad are having a beer, he, out of the blue, is shot dead - and not by anyone, but by the DA (John Sanderford), who later claims he has no memory of the incident (though there are enough witnesses to get him behind bars anyhow). Heartbroken, Darcy tries to torture the truth about the DA - but is caught and fired from the force.

Later, a prostitute (Terri J.Vaughn) Darcy was supposed to protect if still on the force shows up badly beaten up - and now Darcy decides to take justice into her own hands, puts on a revealing costume and a mask, and starts moonlightning as a masked crimefighter, first having revenge on the pimp (Darryl M.Bell) who has beaten up the prostitute. This of course puts Darcy (or rather her other secret identity) at odds with the police force and also her partner/almost boyfriend Michal (Bruce Abbott) ...

Soon though, Darcy, who in her crimefighter outfit goes by the name Black Scorpion, has something bigger to deal with, apparently so far innocent people suddenly commit stupid crimes they have no personal gain from, and later claim they can't remember anything anymore - just like the DA who killed Darcy's father. The only thing all of these people have in common is they use asthma inhalers. The police doesn't make any of this, but Darcy soon finds out the inhalers contain some non-traceable hypnotic drug. Interestingly, the inhalers were al prescribed by one and the same doctor - who weirdly enough is the very doctor her father killed all those years back ...

Soon, a super villain, the Breathtaker (Ed Gilbert) arrives on the scene, and he threatens to poison the city's air supply (the city has just opened a big clean air plant by the way). But he offers gasmasks to all of those who want to survive - for a price of course. Darcy of course figures these gasmasks might contain the same hypnotic drug as the inhalers.

Eventually, Black Scorpion comes face to face with the Breathtaker, who turns out to be the very doctor whom her dad has shot himself, who has been revived as a cyborg ... which has been living hell, and by putting the whole city in gasmasks, he figures they will all share his fate. Oh yeah, and that he had the DA shoot Darcy's dad was pure revenge ...

Of course, everything ends happily, Black Scorpion manages to overcome the Breathtaker's minions, kill the Breathtaker, save her almost-boyfriend Michael's life, and spin it in such a way that it looks as if Darcy and not the Black Scorpion has defeated the villain - upon which she is promptly reinstated within the force ...

 

Superheroes work best in comicbooks, where their adventures are comprised to about 22 pages, there's action aplenty, adn the women are allowed to wear ridiculously sexy outfits. On film on the other hand, superhero adventures (at least since Batman in 1989) are usually unnecessarily epic, dead serious despite their ridiculous subject matter (guys and girls in silly outfits fighting villains with stupid plots), sex free to appeal to an audience as broad as possible, and quite simply pretentious.

Black Scorpion is none of all of that, it's a comicbook come to life in the best sense of the expression (though it was not based on an actual comicbook): There is action from beginning to end, Joan Severance is very sexy, and her revealing outfit only proves that, the film doesn't shy away from sex and nudity, and the film doesn't take itself seriously at all.

That all said, I wouldn't exactly label Black Scorpion a masterpiece, it's just low budget fun - but it makes you wonder why there aren't more films like this around.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD