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Weekly Alibi Videodrome

"Unholy Rollers" and "Sister Street Fighter."

By Scott Phillips

DECEMBER 8, 1997: 

Unholy Rollers (1972)

While a lot of Playboy Playmates have gone on to careers in the movies or TV, none of them can match the talent or the coolness of Claudia Jennings (Miss November 1969). In her short-lived film career (she died in a car wreck in 1979), Claudia kicked ass in stuff like 'Gator Bait, Truckstop Women and The Great Texas Dynamite Chase; but this flick features her greatest, most wigged-out performance. Big C plays a hot-tempered factory worker who gets fed up with her feel-copping boss and storms out, heading straight for the roller derby tryouts. Claudia quickly lands a spot on the team, but during a visit to a seedy watering hole, her jealous teammates pin Claudia to a pool table and tear her clothes off. After retaliating with a naked verbal assault, Claudia leaves with her dignity (if not her clothing) intact. Big C hops on a chopper with another skater, a chubby, greasy Wayne Newton-lookin' guy in a flouncy American Flag shirt (I could never buy this guy as Claudia's love interest--I mean, c'mon), and the two head for the empty arena. In a supercool scene, Claudia strips while skating, then does the rollerdrome-rootfest with Wayne-guy. As the movie progresses, it becomes increasingly apparent that Claudia is nuts, and the whole thing starts to look like a low-rent Raging Bull on rollerskates as Big C's violent nature gets the best of her and she goes outta control, trashing the arena and heading out into the parking lot for more victims. This flick delivers the goods on all counts--great roller derby action; Alan (Jesse's brother) Vint, who laughs heartily; an endless stream of really bad dirty jokes; a heapin' helpin' of The Three H's (Hot Pants, Hip-Huggers and Halter Tops), and, of course, Claudia Jennings gettin' naked. Need more? The supervising editor was none other than Martin Scorsese! Rent it now. (HBO Video)

Sister Street Fighter (1975)

This sort-of-sequel really doesn't have anything to do with the Street Fighter series, despite the fact the Sonny Chiba shows up in a few scenes--he doesn't even play Terry Tsurugi (or Tsuguri or whatever variation of that you wanna use)! Martial Arts expert Tina Long is the sister of a missing undercover cop who was trying to bring down a brutal druglord (who wears really funky '70s clothes). Pressed into service by the cops, Tina travels to Hong Kong, where she's supposed to meet another undercover cop, a beautiful woman with a rose tattooed on her thigh. Tina stumbles across her contact at a sleazy topless bar, but before she can get any information, a bunch of hoods attack, trying to kidnap the cop. Tina whips out some fairly average Kung Fu moves in an attempt to save the cop, but to no avail. However, Sonny Chiba (as "Sonny") roars up in his car and kicks the crap out of the bad guys, then drives off with the cop. Meanwhile, the druglord (who has Tina's brother locked in a cell in his basement and is shooting him up with various concoctions) gets wind of Tina's involvement and looks forward to sending his army of Martial Arts killers into action ("Some men play the horses, I collect killers--it's more fun than a carload of gorillas!"). At one point, Tina jumps the druglord's fence and finds herself face-to-face with the evil "Hammerhead," and the two miraculously appear on a cliff overlooking the sea, where they duke it out. I don't know how it happened, I'm just tellin' you what I saw. Things meander along in standard Kung Fu movie fashion, perking up only when the Chiba-reenster leaps into the fray, delivering his patented style of scrunchy-faced ass-kicking. And, as I was afraid would happen, the movie commits the cardinal sin of chicks-kicking-ass movies: Tina is unable to take the druglord and his henchmen out without the help of Sonny. Bad Kung Fu Style, I'm here to tell ya. Some cool things include the lady cop begging for "hairrrrohhhinnnn," a fat guy rubbing on Tina's schoolgirl-uniform-clad cousin (in front of her whimpering dad) and the super-bad guys who wear baskets on their heads, only to inexplicably remove them before every fight. No Street Fighter but, then again, what is? (New Line)

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