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Blu-ray Review: Panther Squad (1984)

The New Organization Of Nations, or N.O.O.N. if you are one of those sick, sick bastards that need to abbreviate things… has a wild hair about winning the space race… too bad the terrorist group Clean Space have gone all commando and began causing static for N.O.O.N. up to and including kidnapping a lady astronaut.

N.O.O.N. is N.O.N.E. too thrilled about this turn of events, so they bring in Ilona (Sybil Danning), leader of the all-girl ass-kickers known as The Panther Squad… you know, they of the skimpy costumes, bedazzled and exclusively worn with bikinis underneath… to rip Clean Space a new asshole! Boobs, bloodshed, and a motorcycle with a cute as balls duckie painted on it follow in equal measure… oh, and there’s a laser gun in there too because fuck yeah, that’s why!

Coming from those paragons of cinematic top-shelfery, Eurocine (who also brought us the equally batshit insane Zombie Lake), Panther Squad is an absolute scream of a film from beginning to end. Director Pierre Chevalier (credited as Peter Knight) along with producer/star Danning, have birthed a jaw dropping concoction crafted from a metric ton of stock footage (both of rocket launches as well as random clips of films from who the fuck knows where), comic book sensibilities (thanks to a nutty-as-all-piss screenplay courtesy of Georges Friedland from an original idea by Ilona Koch), rather chaste T&A (no T’s or A’s are ever fully exposed), the clumsiest martial arts this side of Dolemite, and a fully game leading lady in Danning… which all adds up to an irresistible viewing experience that never fails to entertain as well as confuse (in the most delightfully charming way).

Also of note to lovers of Euro-fright fare is the great supporting cast, most regulars in flicks by one of yours cruelly’s cinematic idols; Jess Franco! In the cast are Jack Taylor (as Ilona’s drunk as fuck, and incredibly uproarious, liaison Frank Bramble), Analía Ivars (as a member of the squad), Antonio Mayans (as guerilla leader General Carlos)… all Franco regulars, as well as Zombi Holocaust‘s Donald O’Brien… so a real creepy cornucopia of arcane actors there boils n’ ghouls!

As off-kilter as Panther Squad is, some explanation as to how it came to be is provided on this release (from Full Moon Features) via an audio commentary track featuring Sybil Danning moderated by Chris Alexander (via phone). Danning is entertaining and charming and has a great memory regarding the film’s production, and Alexander does an excellent job of keeping the conversation natural and on track.

And that’s about all she wrote on extras except for a handful of trailers for other current Full Moon productions.

To sum it all up, Panther Squad is the perfect film to throw on when you want to put your brain on park and enjoy babes and bullets all presented in a tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top, and often completely insane manner!

 

 

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