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Ghost Canyon

'Hard Ticket to Hawaii: Special Edition'
(Ronn Moss, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / R / (1987) 2019 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: A Hawaiian drug kingpin plans to flood the islands with narcotics all financed by illegal diamond shipments to his private retreat.

When his henchmen kill two DEA agents who were trying to stop the drug lord, the Agency sends in two of its best agents to break up the drug ring and take out the leader.

Blu-ray Verdict: With 'Hard Ticket to Hawaii' (out now as an all new 4K film transfer and HD restoration and available fort he very first time in HD Widescreen), writer/director Andy Sidaris truly laid down the template he would forever follow.

It wasn't his first movie, that was Malibu Express (1985), but that one unusually had a detective narrative and male lead. Of course, it also had lots of pleasingly excessive nudity involving a selection of busty beauties.

Sidaris retained that latter element but refocused the plot where the protagonists were hot female action heroines. And so with Hard Ticket to Hawaii, Sidaris created his babes, bullets and explosions sub-genre. The story has two very hot women operate an airplane cargo delivery service in Hawaii.

A large, toxic snake they are delivering escapes and they get mixed up in a scheme involving criminals and a cache of diamonds. Much entertainment follows.

I've seen all the Sidaris movies and I can say with some certainty that the aforementioned first two films in his filmography are his very best. And Hard Ticket to Hawaii is definitely his ultimate classic. It has all the elements of all his other films but it has more.

Like the others, it's an action flick with the great idea of predominantly featuring 80's Playmates and it also has a commendable focus on beautiful breasts, with lots of somewhat basic acting and ropey dialogue to top things off.

It even features some stalwarts of future Sidaris movies such as the gorgeous trio of Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton and Cynthia Brimhall, plus the acting colossus that is Rodrigo Obregon. And yet, it's the extra details that we have on top of this that elevate this one into classic status.

For a start, there are just more interesting things going on. Where most Sidaris movies have pretty forgettable plot-lines, this one sticks in the mind.

We have a fairly routine bad guys versus good guys set-up but running alongside this there is the plot strand about the monstrous snake made toxic by infection by cancerous rats.

Its pure psychotronic nonsense of the first order of course but quite brilliantly entertaining nonsense. We also have a transvestite hit-man, a skateboarding assassin with inflatable doll, a female bodybuilder interrogator, a razor-tipped Frisbee and a finale so hilariously over-the-top, it's frankly genius!

The latter involves, amongst other things, a ludicrously over-extended death scene, a snake bursting out of a toilet, a bazooka and a motorbike crashing through a wall.

If you can't enjoy this I feel sorry for you. And plus points have to automatically be given to any film where two beautiful women declare that they 'do their best thinking in the hot tub'.

I like too how, despite celebrating their bodies, in Sidaris movies the women are always portrayed as resourceful and kick-ass and never dumb.

This is the one truly must-see Sidaris film. It feels like he threw everything at it and just added every idea he came up with regardless of how insane it was.

He never really topped it ever again, but then no one else has ever made a film of this particular type any better either. One of the all-time great '80s B-movies, in my humble opinion. This is a newly-restored Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Introduction by Director Andy Sidaris
Audio Commentary
Behind the Scenes Featurette
Trailers

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