"Bonnie's Kids" is – plain and simply put – one of the absolute greatest and most entertaining exploitation movies to have emerged from the entire 70s decade; period! This movie is a totally bonkers and exhilarating thrill ride from start to finish and, with a little bit of crazy imagination, you could even state that this is bizarrely unhinged fairy-tale! Two beautiful young "princesses" named Ellie & Myra, sisters and daughters of the infamous Bonnie who's dead even before the movie begins and only referred to verbally, live with their violent and abusive stepfather. When he attempts to assault Myra, Ellie blasts him away with her shotgun and hides the body in the cellar. The two girls subsequently go on the road and head for El Paso, where they plan to live with their dubious Uncle Ben; owner of a nudie magazine and a notorious crime boss on the side. While young Myra develops a special bond with Ben's frustrated and oppressed lesbian wife Diana, Ellie gets asked by her uncle to do an errand. She has to go and pick up a package from the private detective that her uncle's henchmen have recruited, but she and Larry fall in love and discover that the package contains a gigantic amount of money in cash! They intend to keep the money, but find themselves relentlessly pursued by Ben's henchmen. Admittedly, this brief description makes the film sound rather ordinary but I guarantee that this isn't the case! The 105 minutes of running time are literally chock-full of versatile events that are alternately comical (the sleazy salesman) and brutish (the nihilistic killing of the young motel couple), as well as plenty of road-movie styled action and sleazy coming-of-age themes. But the most remarkable thing about "Bonnie's Kids" is undoubtedly the colorful cast of characters! Every single character is unique, and yet they all have something in common: every character – from the two protagonist girls to the most insignificant supportive role - is a totally amoral and self-centered individual. Myra doesn't care about anybody but herself and shamelessly uses her luscious young body to discover life, while Ellie quickly profiles herself as a stone cold and carnivorous killer bee. Then you have Ben's two goons Eddy and Digger, respectively played by exploitation veteran Alex Rocco and the Afro-wearing Timothy Brown. Like another reviewer already cleverly pointed out, it might very well be that Quentin Tarantino modeled his legendary characters Vincent and Jules (John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson) from "Pulp Fiction" after these two! Their looks and personal behaviors are similar, but they also spend their days chatting in their car, sipping drinks in cheap diners and ruthlessly executing people when necessary! Considering Tarantino's well-known taste in movies, I'm 200% convinced that "Bonnie's Kids" is a beloved favorite of his. Writer/director Arthur Marks was particularly specialized in Blaxploitation cinema and directed a handful of them ("J.D's Revenge", "Bucktown", "Friday Foster"
) but "Bonnie's Kids" is undeniably his best work: a fantastically deranged, unscrupulous, energetic and insanely imaginative exploitation masterpiece!
*edit: I just read in the trivia section that Tarantino is indeed a tremendous fan of this film and even paid tribute to it in "Pulp Fiction" by naming one of the segments "The Bonnie Situation". I didn't even think of that!
Sisters Myra and Ellie have finally had enough of their miserable, dead-end lives. When their step-father Charley (The Bonnie from the title being long dead) tried to rape Myra, Ellie ventilates him with a shotgun, and the pair run off to their wealthy uncle's mansion in El Paso. From that point on, the two undergo a transformation in their personalities, and start to enjoy living their lives on the wild side.
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July 01, 2015 at 12:22 PM