Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Angels' Revenge

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The Persistence of Angels with Dirty Memories: MST3K: Angels' Revenge

May 11, 2004 (Updated May 12, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Action Factor:
  • Special Effects:
  • Suspense:

Pros:Alan Hale, Jr., no skimping on Big American..., great riffing by Mike & Bots

Cons:Cruel, vicious, sexist, repellent on multiple levels.

The Bottom Line: "Lay off that nostalgia, cousin, it's a killer." -S.J. Perelman


Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

For those who don’t know what MST3K is, please check out my review here, where I explain the show's premise and appeal:

http://www.epinions.com/content_30012903044

"I can't remember Fisk's home run off the foul pole in the sixth game of the 1975 World Series."

The folks at MST3K would often strive to come up with some thematic link that would thread their comments together with the movie de jour. It is only fitting, then, that this “jiggle-fest” originally known as Angels’ Brigade, a.k.a. Angels Revenge (1979) ... a.k.a. Seven from Heaven (1979-from IMDB), would excite nostalgia for the decade that initiated wallowing in the pop-cultural artifacts of the past, the shameful 70’s. Not only is this film an artifact of its time in its hateful attitude towards women and its hypocritical appeal to feminism as a justification for vigilante T & A, it also features a bevy of former pop & TV stars in various states of humiliation.

The opening host segment finds Crow claiming a severe case of amnesia, yet he seems to be able to direct Mike and Servo to the large polo mallet that will “cure” him of his “affliction.” After Servo winds up getting mallet-smashed instead, the Mads appear, impersonating 1970’s relief pitchers Rollie Fingers and Tug McGraw in a non-sequitur effort to raise Mike Nelson’s Nielson ratings. (This episode came during Best Brains’ war with Comedy Central over budgets and ratings) To that end, they have also put a additive in the SOL’s food supply that turns Nelson and the Bots into Lorenzo Lamas and the rest of the cast from the-then syndicated hit RENEGADE. (itself a nostalgic rip-off of THE FUGITIVE) As per usual, the Mads attack on Mike and the Bots proves very limited in its effects, so they pipe up the movie as punishment.

“I detect the liver-spotted hand of Aaron Spelling behind this!”

Adhering tenaciously to the classical tenets of Western drama, ANGELS’ REVENGE begins -in media res- as a group of “tightly-clad white-jumpsuit wearing” female commandos are shown attacking a drug-processing plant in the middle of the Mojave Desert. After they successfully kill off scores of white-trash desert rats, we get a freeze-frame on April (Jacqueline Cole) the “plain unremarkable one” (yet with required -xtra large- bosoms) who is, of course, the leader. As an explanation for why a “nice” high school teacher would suddenly morph into a curvy Charles Bronson, she spins a mean flashback showing the sad fate of her student, little Bobby Wilson. Bobby (Mike Gugliotta, looking like Andy Gibb’s wispier kid brother) is a drug addict who conks his connection Sticks (Darby Hinton, whose claimed proficiency in Bruce Lee’s art of Jeet Kune Do {via IMDB} does not manifest itself in this picture, nay, he is the wimpiest drug dealer in movie history) on the head with a beer bottle and steals his stash. This proves to be an unwise move, as Sticks immediately goes to his boss, Mike Farrell (no, not the MASH wuss, it’s our old friend Jack Palance!), and they clean lil’ Bobarello’s clock. Lying next to Bobby on the grass is a clipping about up-and-coming disco queen Michelle Wilson (Susan Kiger). We then flash over to a sound-stage Vegas to find...

“If shining beer is illegal, then why isn’t shining your love?”

Michelle lip-synching a pathetic, meaningless disco song “Shine your love.” Apparently, the sight of her long, luscious gams sends has-been egotist and talk-show host Arthur Godfrey into a spasmodic episode, compounded by his coming backstage to her dressing room to offer insincere showbiz puffery and a transparent pass. Unlike the other elderly victims of Greydon Clark’s Movie Magic Machine, Godfrey was well-set financially at this time, but the lure of performing even in this tawdriest of venues must have been too much for him.

After Alan Hale Jr. (as agent Manny) and Kiger dispose of the pathetic old lech, they get a phone call informing them of her brother Bobby’s beat-down. Returning to L.A., April approaches Michelle to join forces with her to recruit:

Terry Grant (Sylvia Anderson)- a tall African-American stunt driver and mechanic, target of racist comments about her skin color and height throughout the movie

Kako Umaro (Lieu Chinh) A Vietnamese (!) katana-wielding martial arts expert.

Maria (Noela Velasco) the Hispanic high-fashion model ex-junkie eye candy distraction for the guards. Easily the worst actress of the bunch.

Elaine Brenner (Robin Greer) A cop who, while blond, is nonetheless flat-chestedly intelligent enough to be the chief planner and firearms-trainer for the group

Trish (Liza Greer-Robin’s real-life kid sister) One of April’s students who tumbles to the scheme, she serves as mascot and comic relief.

The Magnificent Seven they ain’t, folks.


“This is the first movie Jim Backus made after he died!”


We now come to the “plan coming together” stage of the affair, where the “girls” plan the attack, purchase the needed vehicles (Pat Buttram makes a sad appearance as a car salesman), steal the necessary guns and ammo from the most pathetic bunch of right-wing survivalists ever (Jim Backus makes an even sadder appearance as their leader, the boys groan audibly at his shame), and train with their shooting irons. After a side romp to intercept a foreign shipment of drugs, they successfully blow up the processing compound (“That was a long flashback!), but mob boss Burke (Peter Lawford, doing a shameful drunken turn with a Kristy McNichol haircut as his only friend) finds out April’s identity and...

“Its Aaron Spelling’s House. Be quiet, it might charge!”


But enough with the pathetic plot. Mike and the Bots have a close encounter with Aaron Spelling’s mansion, and Tom and Crow have to kill Mike when he does the world’s lamest Fonzie impersonation. At experiment’s end, Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank have changed into Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King outfits in yet another futile effort at pumping up the viewership as we leave the SOL, sadder yet wiser.


“Could we have some real actors, please?”

Greydon Clark is the auteur of this little turkey, both helming and co-writing it. Two years after his magnum opus, the oxymoronically-titled SATAN’S CHEERLEADERS, he shamelessly rips off Charlie’s Angels while being even more hypocritical and crass than Spelling, and with worse actors to boot. Clark takes an almost(?) perverse pleasure in degrading the veteran character actors and personalities here by putting them in situations that mock their most famous roles. The indignity prize is fairly evenly split between Backus, who looks pained at having to display even the mild intolerance demanded of him by the script and who winds up with a pot of spaghetti dumped on his head, and Lawford, who is obviously intoxicated throughout. Palance can barely keep a straight face pretending to be "threatened" by him. In fact, it is garbage like this that resulted in the 5 year gap in Palance's career from 1982-1987. His triumphant comeback as the romantic lead in BAGDAD CAFE, a film light years beyond this one, signified what he could do with good scripts and direction. Only Alan Hale Jr. escapes with basic human dignity intact. The fact that Clark has minimal competence as a director only makes things worse. Strikingly enough, the instrumental score for the film is actually quite good (“Does the Kronos Quartet live on this block?”), or at least far better than this stink-burger deserves.

“Sorry we had to destroy you, Mike”

In short, the movie is predictably awful, but Mike and the Bots have a lot of wonderful material to comment on, and they rise to the challenge. Stay away if you are allergic to abuse of feminism.


This little essay on the dangers of nostalgia comes on a wistful note of remembrance for MST3K fans, for it was on this date in 1993 that Joel Hodgson, co-creator and host, announced his departure from the show, a little foreshadowing of the fate that must come, someday, to all our beloved programming. Drive carefully and tip your waitstaff, everybody!


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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