The term ‘so bad, it’s good’ is thrown around a lot these days, but what makes a ‘so bad, it’s good’ movie? A lot of bad films out there try to fall into that category by intentionally being terrible, but I like to think that the true good/bad films are the ones that in all honesty are trying their darndest to be good. It’s the ones where the people that worked on the film tried their best, but through some terrible acting and incoherent plots, ended up with a product that was a valiant attempt, but with a terrible execution. Dangerous Men is to me a perfect example of the aforementioned term. It’s obvious that director John Rad was trying to make a movie that was supposed to be good and you can tell it was a passion of his to finish it, even if it did take 26 years to do just that. However, the movie is astounding in how damn terrible it is. It’s got brain shattering acting, a plot that isn’t even 1% there and a synth-heavy soundtrack that is oddly enough, damn awesome. I don’t really know how to express how odd, yet oddly awesome this movie is, but let me see what I can do…
[tabby title=”Product Information”]
DISCS: 2 (1 Blu-ray, 1 DVD)
RUN-TIME: 80 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 70’s/80’s/90’s/2005
RELEASE DATE: Apr 19, 2016
[tabby title=”Plot Summary”]
In 1979, Iranian filmmaker John S. Rad moved to the U.S. to shoot his dream project, a rampaging gutter epic of crime, revenge, cop sex and raw power. Just 26 years later, he completed an American action film masterpiece that the world is still barely ready for today: DANGEROUS MEN. After Mina witnesses her fiance’s brutal murder by beach thugs, she sets out on a venomous spree to eradicate all human trash from Los Angeles. Armed with a knife, a gun, and an undying rage, she murders her way through the masculine half of the city’s populace. A renegade cop is hot on her heels, a trail that also leads him to the subhuman criminal overlord known as Black Pepper. It’s a pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, brain-devouring onslaught of ’80s thunder, ’90s lightning, and pure filmmaking daredevilry from another time and/or dimension. Blades flash, blood flows, bullets fly and synthesizers blare as the morgue overflows with the corpses of DANGEROUS MEN.
[tabby title=”Movie Review”]
The history behind Dangerous Men is a rather interesting one. Jahangir Salehi (known as John Rad in every role of the opening credits) moved out of Iran and headed to the U.S.A. to make a movie. Of course, to make a movie you need money and Salehi didn’t have much. He took the little he had and started production on Dangerous Men in the late 70’s/early 80’s, until he ran out of money. Once he was able to raise some more, he went back to shooting. This continued on for many years, resulting in a disjointed flick that was shot through different time periods, but is meant to take place over a couple days. The movie was eventually completed and released in theatres (a whopping four theatres) in 2005 and was not the big hit Salehi was hoping. It sat around for the longest time, until Drafthouse Films came along in 2015 and made an offer to get the movie out to the masses, hence, the Blu-ray disc I now have in my grubby little hands.
The “plot” for Dangerous Men goes a little something like this: Daniel (porn actor Michael Hurt) is looking to marry Mira (Melody Wiggins) and after asking Mira’s father (who looks to be the same age as Mira) for her hand in marriage, the couple go out and celebrate their recent engagement with a road trip. During their trip, they run afoul of two bikers who pick a fight with Daniel, who ends up being stabbed. Mira is obviously distraught over this situation and vows to get revenge on all scumbags, naked-punisher style, by pretending to be hot for the killer biker and heading out with him to a hotel (leaving poor dead Daniel on the beach) for a nice steak dinner and some tickling of the kneecaps (don’t ask).
Meanwhile, Daniel’s cop brother David (Michael Gradilone) hears of his brother’s passing and is heading home to mourn, but also to find Mira. David immediately starts to investigate the murder and ends up going after the bikers. His investigation tactics are a bit strange. At one point he uses the help of a more than willing lady to seduce a biker with her womanly ways on the side of a road. David is there to save the day and get some information on the head biker Black Pepper (oddly enough, Black Pepper is a blonde haired surfer dude, with a beefed up girlfriend, who both enjoy the company of a scantily clad dancing lady. Once again, don’t ask).
David’s investigation doesn’t really lead him anywhere and doesn’t help Mira in the least bit, who is busy killing random dudes she picks up while pretending to be a prostitute. (She got her prostitute training from another prostitute.) All these events, though, are leading up to an epic showdown with an old cop, a blind hot woman and Black Pepper. If you’re thinking that doesn’t seem to be related to the rest of the movie, you don’t even know the half of it.
Dangerous Men, a 26-year oddity in the making. It has cult classic written all over it and it’s the kind of movie that will play amazingly well at midnight showings and drunken parties. It’s a strange flick that can’t be comprehended, can’t be understood and can’t be missed. It’s a movie that is damn worth checking out!
[tabby title=”Blu-ray opinion”]
Dangerous Men is out on Blu-ray from Drafthouse Films and boy, is it worth picking up. It’s loaded with special features, with some really informative interviews with John Rad’s family, a few of the people that went to the first showing in theatres, and a commentary with two guys who are sitting down trying to figure this movie out. There is also a 42-minute episode of The Queer Edge (a local L.A. show) that has a quick interview with John Rad. There isn’t much info in this feature, but there is a fun segment where a host and his super hot assistant visit a porn convention. That was fun. As for the video and audio side of things, the movie is ultra low budget, so don’t expect a miracle, but do expect a solid grindhouse feel with this one. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio presentation is serviceable, but know that the audio work in this movie is horrific.
[tabby title=”Special Features”]
• 16-page booklet featuring only documented full-length interview with John S. Rad
• Audio commentary featuring Destroy All Movies authors Zack Carlson and Bryan Connelly
• That’s So John Rad – An original documentary about the film and its original 2005 theatrical release
• Rare footage of John S. Rad appearing on local access television
• Interview with director of photography Peter Palian
• Original theatrical trailer
Dangerous Men is a confusing mess of a flick, but it’s also a damn blast to witness. It jumps from one terribly acted scene to the next, but you just gotta strap in and enjoy the ride, which is made easy with the wonderful Blu-ray from Drafthouse Films.