Not So Savage Island!
There’s this South American jungle, you see, where women prisoners are sent to dig for emeralds. They can sign up for this hard labor assignment to get years taken off their records. The only problem is, the land is filled with death, from the creatures roaming in the jungles to the rapist guards. Life is rough at the prison camp, and death is even crueler. But one woman has been sent to infiltrate the camp, to assess its strengths and weaknesses, and together with a man on the inside, they are going to attempt to overthrow the guards and free all the women there, who are practically living like slaves. Now, we know they’ve already won, because the prologue to the film features a mink-coated Linda Blair walking into a high-rise business building to confront the rich, piggy man at the head of this white slavery organization. It turns out, she’s smuggled in a machine gun, and she’s come to make him pay for what he’s done. But first, she must tell the story of how her operatives overthrew the emerald prison camp.
This movie is something else. There’s a whole lot going on in its hour and twenty minute running time, but despite all the action, it still feels like it’s trying to pad out the length of the film. It’s pretty obvious that they had a European movie about a women’s prison camp and a revolt that takes place there, but it wasn’t long enough, or American enough, so they had to add something to it, thus the prologue and epilogue featuring Linda Blair. The film itself is just a series of incidents, of women getting attacked by snakes and leeches and greasy, hairy, ugly prison guards. The women are all beautiful, of course, and have nearly perfect bodies. They get shown naked a lot (gotta have a group shower scene and random sex scenes in the steamy jungle, you know), and the violence is decent if fairly typical of the 80’s. The gunplay reminded me of episodes of the A-Team. In any case, the bad dubbing either helps add to the kitsch factor or it will drive you crazy, depending on your perspective. It did a little of both for me. Blair is fine in her role as badass lady bent for revenge, and a solid narrator of the tale that is unfolding. In the end, the movie kind of went by in a haze to me. This is one of those movies that are a perfect fit for the bottom bill of a drive-in triple feature, because at this point you’re tired and napping in the car or you’re making out and if you miss chunks of the narrative, no big deal. You can always look up and see some boobs and bush and get caught up almost instantly.
I can’t really recommend this one but I can’t take the piss out of it, either. It’s on the lowest rung of the “women in prison” subgenre, and you can tell by this point in time the subgenre was running on fumes. But it isn’t terrible, and there’s lots of nudity, so that’s a plus. This is really for the completest out there. And Linda Blair fans. Also, look for the tiny appearance of Penn Jillette as a prison guard. Blink and you'll miss it!
Two Stars out of Four