Lady Avenger (1988) Review by RevTerry

I fear the new generations will never be allowed the exotic thrill of being let loose at the video rental store as children. In the years before you could find nudity by simply typing "boobs" in to Tumblr, the lanes of plastic encased VHS covers that lined the local store were one of the few afforded exposures to the sleaze the world had to offer. Even without a risky dart into the curtains of the "adult only" area a child could find a buffet of intriguing box art. The two plus trips my family made a week were never to be missed and I frequented the dwindling remains all the way till the last blockbuster (I have encountered) shut its doors on the shelved box, filled with the same mostly family safe DVD-sleeves, it called a video rental store. One of many favorites pieces of art in the Action section as a kid featured a blond model, bandanna tied to her head, wearing a wife-beater standing against a fence. She was armed with a shotgun ,had a hand gun at her waist, and also sported some perfectly defined nipples through her rugged shirt rag. The whole image resembled a bargain basement Sarah Connor at the time and my imagination concocted a plot which pretty much boiled down to oversexualized versions of the desert scenes from T2: Judgement Day. I wouldn't actually see the film itself  till much later, when I would find it buried among other Shot-On-Tape classics on a lucky treasure hunt and while its titular character is definitely not Sarah Connor level, I think the little kid version of me would approve of the twisty trash ballad that is  Lady Avenger(1988).
David DeCotea comes in many flavors but they are all very him distinctly. Getting his start with both Roger Corman and Charles Band, Decotea makes everything from family Christmas movies staring  Vivica A. Fox to a wide range of soft core porn for every preference. He has his fair share of trash classics, almost too many to list, including collection staple, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988) and  some more of my all time favorites (Nightmare SistersDr. Alien). The movie is one of few he made too late for the revenge thriller trend of the 80's and most likely originally took inspiration from Savage Streets (1984). It stars Peggy McIntaggart as the "Lady Avenger" and fan favorite Michelle Bauer who is credited as Michelle McClellan, one of her many aliases.
After an opening depiction of a brutal assault of two young people on the the neighborhood rape mattress, we are introduced to Maggie who currently resides in a women's correctional facility of some sort. She is given leave to go to her brothers funeral, one of the victims of the opening sequence and returns home to her mom, step dad, and best friend Annalee (Michelle Bauer) who always seems to be having sex when people call her on the phone. Her brother's attack is written off due to a history as a junkie and a treacherous plot becomes apparent, so she dons a bandanna to go all First Blood on some motherfuckers. There is a bunch of turns in the plot that I won't spoil and run of killings including a dude getting toasted with a flamethrower.
The movie blends so many influences from earlier flicks it becomes a unique mess of its own. While I love the "Revenge" sub-genre and all of its tropes its a nice change of pace to have the female vigilante less "I refuse to be a victim." and more "You fucked with my brother, now you got to die!" which almost seems to be the happy byproduct of the unsuccessful lifting of Savage Streets character motivation. Peggy McIntaggart as a badass is more Bruce Campbel than Charles Bronson which matches the comparatively lighthearted direction for the genre. Michelle Bauer (aka Michelle McClellan aka Pia Snow...etc) is always great, and while most of us would be happy with the excessive nudity alone her acting style always provides several benefits beyond skin for films like this. The dialog and execution is a lot of fun at times and is best when it's at its cheesiest . Plenty of killing with various instruments and most with a one liner attached.
The movie never really hits the brutality notes that the films it takes from came to rely on but is a fun enough watch as its own thing. It moves quickly from trope to trope, almost a tribute to releases from the slightly earlier, popular "revenge" wave. Some good gore with each kill, a high body count and a a lot of  Bauer holding a old school phone topless. A wonderfully mis-shot entry in to one of my favorite types of trash, I was never bored, but I enjoy a good 6 hour game of Risk from time to time.
1h 22min | 1988
 Director: David DeCoteau
Writers: Keith Kaczorek, Will Schmitz 

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