Sunday, June 14

Street Asylum (1990)

John Lithgow?

"yea, go and get AIDS, right?"
-- the ever tasteful Hauser

Directed by Gregory Dark
90 minutes (unrated director's cut) / Magnum Entertainment / Cropped from 1.85:1 to full screen

After taking a hit while helping a wounded-hand suspect piss, officer Arliss Ryder (Wings Hauser) joins a special squad of bullet-takin' cops assigned to exspounge escalating violence off the streets--dubbed the Scum Quelling Urban Assault Division. He begins to notice his partners exhibiting a heightened level of bloodlust and soon has uncontrollable flashes of himself dispensing extreme brutality upon those he confronts. With his partners also ending up mysteriously dead, Ryder puts the squeeze on a street walker and aims his suspicions towards a powerful candidate for mayor played by conservative radio pundit, Watergate felon, and once hilarious Don & Mike Show punching bag G. Gordon Liddy. Can Ryder endure his own escalating animal tendencies to find the truth as the streets explode in chaos?

That synopsis is more interesting than the film itself with the points described above being telegraphed to the viewer almost from the beginning. Hauser does what he's done prior and since with a rather straight-laced cop characterization, but the real amusing meat are the minor players. Sy Richardson (Repo Man) shows up as one of Ryder's frenzied partners with his violent inclinations coupled with overt homosexual overtones as he constantly giggles and gropes suspects. It's hard to tell whether the role is played for laughs or not and Ryder doesn't acknowledge what's so flamingly obvious. Brion James (The Horror Show) is a sidewalk evangelist who deliciously shouts such ridiculous lines as "sex is in the loins....and the buttox!" and lights a pimp ablaze to the delight of his followers. The man-who-doesn't-turn-robotic-despite-the-cover G. Gordon Liddy is woefully out of place, but considering his All-American screamin' eagle public persona one can only shoot a baffled stare at the screen as he kills dominatrixes and watches smut.

This is a genuine case of being better in parts than the sum. It is surprisingly watchable with great use of warm hued lighting, but things just sorta trail off and as noted there is no climatic Robo G-Man versus Hauser battle to make the ninety minutes invested somewhat worth it.

VHS Picture: 6/10
VHS Sound: 6/10

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