Directed by: Henry Vernon
Starring: Suzanne Tara and Robert Canada
When Heather (Tara) receives word that her girl group, The Skirts, is going to be performing on national television on the TV show “Celebrity Exposure”, she couldn’t be more excited. The Skirts are comprised of six members, and all six pile into a station wagon and drive through the desert to get to Las Vegas where the show is being taped. Unfortunately, the car breaks down and they become stranded. After walking for a while, they find what looks like a dilapidated town and they go in to investigate. It turns out to be the lair for a gang of ruthless criminal bikers, led by the nefarious Reaper (Canada). The girls happen in at a bad time, as the bikers are in the midst of executing a huge drug deal. So the bikers hold them hostage - but the girls might be getting some help from an unexpected source. Will they live to sing another day?
According to the back of the VHS box (released by Charter), this is “A film that will chain you to fear - terrorizing your senses and violating your sensibilities - THE DANGER ZONE takes you on a ride through the fires of hell.” This might be a bit overzealous, but it does feature a woman spraying a snake with a can of hairspray and bikers delivering drugs to Mexico via toy airplane. So count my sensibilities as violated. The Danger Zone is a biker movie where the bikers are the most uninteresting part. By far the best parts of the movie involve the girl group, The Skirts. Because the 80’s rule, and their storyline was more 80’s, we wanted to see more of them. But sadly there are no really well-drawn characters in this movie anywhere. The Skirts are like a cross between The Flirts (known for the album “10 Cents A Dance”) and some primitive version of The Pussycat Dolls, and their car trip is really quite something.
The movie slows down considerably once it becomes a hostage drama, and we were wondering where Werner Hoetzinger was when we really needed him. Naturally, when the bikers appear on screen there is an “evil guitar riff” on the soundtrack. To balance that out, the girls always have music with classic 80’s synths and the time honored sax solo. So you know who is good and who is bad. The Danger Zone (which, inexplicably, has two sequels) would make a perfect double feature with Blood Games (1990), the Gregory Scott Cummins/Ross Hagen/George “Buck” Flower movie about a team of female softball players that fight baddies. There’s a guy in The Danger Zone, however, who really should have been played by Wings Hauser, but at least he has a sleeveless shirt that says “I’m Not D.B. Cooper”. The movie’s stupidity comes through most during the fight scenes.
Besides some TV work, Suzanne Tara only appeared in one other feature film besides this - and it’s none other than Deadly Prey (1987). 1987 must have been an amazing year for her. This was director Vernon’s only movie...we wonder why? Additional thoughts: the TV show Celebrity Exposure pre-dates American Idol, the big song by The Skirts, “Hearts on Fire” shouldn’t be confused with the Rocky song of the same name, and Heidi The Dog gets a credit for “Hound” in the end credits. The Charter tape is of good quality, with bright colors. And let’s not forget about the end-credits song, “Bad Men Ridin’”, by Joe Turano.
Not to be confused with the Robert Downey Jr. movie of almost the same name, The Danger Zone may have some funny dialogue and amusing moments, but it needed more energy overall.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty