Switchblade Sisters

1975

Action / Crime / Drama

2
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 53%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 2859

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Don Stark as Hook
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
643.08 MB
1280*694
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 31 min
P/S counting...
1.36 GB
1920*1040
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 31 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 6 / 10

A solid juvenile delinquent movie from the drive-in days

A classic slice of '70s exploitation, which mixes in all the familiar ingredients from gang movies - drugs, prostitution, street wars, cat fights, double-crosses, and drive-by shootings - into one satisfying whole. Directed by the almost legendary Jack Hill as one of his last movies, this is a fast-paced and sometimes thrilling movie with plenty of treachery, name-calling, back-stabbing, and violence to recommend it to fans. It's also one of Quentin Tarantino's favourites, which is why it got a re-release through his Rolling Thunder label. The acting from the mostly unknown young cast is very good, with each of the (mainly female) cast convincing in their roles, particularly Robbie Lee and Joanne Nail as the two rival antagonists who battle for control of the gang.

During the course of its running time, SWITCHBLADE SISTERS packs in a stay at a prison ruled over by a perverted lesbian guard; a shoot-out at an ice rink which makes excellent use of its location; an incredible street battle with Molotov cocktails, armoured vehicles, explosions and machine-gun battles in the street, and to top it all off a sickeningly violent cat fight between two switchblade-wielding gang members. The film does an admirable job of maintaining tension throughout and building up the suspense towards the finale, as evil eye patch-wearing Patch stirs up trouble and leads things to a final showdown. The police can't believe their eyes, and neither will the viewer! A solid juvenile delinquent movie from the drive-in days, the kind of which they don't make any longer, sadly.

Reviewed by Martin Bradley 8 / 10

Perversely enjoyable

This glorious slice of seventies exploitation is reputed to be one of Quentin Tarantino's favourite films and it's easy to see why though even Tarantino would be hard-pressed to come up with anything this mad or this subversive; it even manages to bring Maoist politics into the mix. It also manages to transcend the 'so-bad-it's-good' concept to exist in a netherworld all of its own. As you might guess from the title, this is a feminist gang-movie with the boys taking very much a back seat. Of course, 'acting' is non-existent but director Jack Hill seems to relish his casts limitations, wracking everything up to a Spinal Tap 11. Okay, it's certainly not for everyone but for those who can take it this is perversely enjoyable.

Reviewed by Blake Peterson 5 / 10

An Exploitation Classic Too Serious For Its Own Good

"You can beat us, chain us, lock us up. But we're gonna be back, understand? And when we do, cop, you better keep your ass off our turf, or we'll BLOW IT OFF! Ya dig? We're Jezebels, cop — remember that name. We'll be back!" Switchblade Sister Maggie (Joanne Nail) screams at a policeman. She is covered in blood, the survivor of a knife fight in which the other participant wasn't so lucky. She is perhaps too hysterical to realize that she's most likely going to die in prison — but it makes for a hell of a closing statement, and this film is all about statements, for crying out loud.

This rabid speech falls at the end of Switchblade Sisters, coming in the wake of gang wars, rapes, roller rink shoot-outs, and gory revenge. For a sleazy Throwback Thursday, it's a deliciously laughable nightmare of low-budget tackiness; for an exploitation flick, it's a slow day. Certainly, it's an awful movie — all exploitation movies are awful, in fluctuating colors and shades, to be fair — but I can't say that Switchblade Sisters is in the same category of delectable trash like Danger: Diabolik or Coffy. It's just plain bad (though not in the ways most movies are).

It follows Maggie, the new bad girl in town who joins the Dagger Debs after a violent meeting. The bond between Maggie and her cohorts grows tight in a snap, post-arrests and all, but things get messy rather quickly. The leader of the pack's (Robbie Lee) boyfriend (Asher Brauner) rapes Maggie, causing tension, and a rival group viciously attacks the Debs and their male duplicates seemingly out of nowhere. But who cares about plot here?

Switchblade Sisters is a gut-busting assortment of atrocious writing, poor acting, and dreadful directing, but all those things are charms rather than obstacles. There's something stinkingly entertaining found in the one-liners ("Freeze, greaseball!"), the way the majority of the actresses like to speak through their gritted, yellowed teeth, how Jack Hill injects tacky life into even the most putrid of scenes. These aren't the reasons why Switchblade Sisters is a bad movie; it's bad because of its all too commonplace unseemliness.

It touches on issues like gang rape and murder and sexism and miscarriage, but the tendency to only prick each item as a sort of prelude to the eventual bloody retribution is disconcerting. I'm not saying that bringing up these controversies is an unheard of thing; I'm saying that in a film as campy as Switchblade Sisters, topics so heavy can destroy a lovably shabby aesthetic. Most of the film is spent wounding itself — there is a simply godawful scene in which a traitor is tortured with a daringly placed cigarette — but it has its moments, even if the bad ones aren't so forgivable.

The attractiveness of Switchblade Sisters is, ironically enough, purely accidental. It means to be badass, but the film is better when it's attempting to be serious and ends up going down the shitter. It's hard not to laugh at the actors, all of whom are so horrible it's as though they're trying to memorize their lines as they're reciting them, and it's difficult not to make fun of the "inadvertent" instances of nudity (the irresistible prison fight with the butch warden contains some ridiculous boob flashes that are more hilarious than titillating). Switchblade Sisters is pretty bad, but at least it's fun bad. The exploitation boom in the 1970s remains to be one of the best (and worst) eras in cinema; this film isn't a good example of one, but there's no denying how iconic it is in its vortex. (Funny, though, how the title of the film is never actually said in the film.)

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