Directed by: Armand Garabidian
Starring: Marc Singer, Mark Hamill, Deborah Shelton, Adrienne Barbeau, Michael Des Barres, India Allen, Gilbert Gottfried, and Charles Napier
When actress Alex Ramsey (Shelton) witnesses a murder by gangster Degrillo (Des Barres), she has to go into witness protection. Degrillo had previously been under surveillance by federal agents Rick Baker (Singer, not the famed makeup artist portraying himself) and Johnson (Hamill). Ramsey doesn’t want to leave her glamorous Hollywood life, though she is tired of being bossed around by her TV director, Rene (Gottfried). Baker and Johnson decide the best course of action is to go to a rural inn and get some country livin’ during her sequestration. While hiding out from Degrillo and his goons, they meet local folk such as Violet (Barbeau) and Sheila (Allen), who work at the inn, as well as bumpkins looking to sell meth to bikers. Schultz (Napier) is a classic WYC (White Yelling Chief) who constantly screams at Baker to do his job. But naturally there’s romance in the air as Ramsey and Baker – as well as Sheila and Johnson – succumb to the cabin fever and pay-cable 90’s nudity ensues. Will our heroes return to civilization un-shot at and intact?
Erotic thrillers. Gilbert Gottfried. Two things that have gone together since time immemorial. But for some reason, this time the two don’t mix. Silk Degrees typifies the movie you would see on the shelf of your local video store, look at it quickly, shrug your shoulders, say “meh...” and keep walking by. Hence, it’s a “walk-by”, a term we would like to start using. Having Mark Hamill and Marc Singer be partners was a novel idea, if only for the fact that we can see the both of them together in the same place at the same time, thus proving that they are indeed two different people. The difference in the two men is academic; casting them as partners is just confusing. At least have one of the federal agents have dark hair, a mustache, a scar, something to distinguish the two. But judging by the mediocrity of it all, the writers must have said “meh...” too.
So why should we, as viewers, care? Is some nudity meant to be enough to keep our attention? Because even that is doled out sparingly. Fan favorite Napier just goes through the motions as he did so many times during his 90’s career, Hamill and Barbeau don’t even really need to be there, and the presence of Gilbert Gottfried is off-putting. To be fair, Shelton is attractive and does a decent job, and Singer puts in a respectable amount of energy. But the whole thing is lazily written, and it’s nothing you haven’t seen a million times before. For a far better movie about someone put under witness protection, check out Hit List (1989). Silk Degrees isn’t softcore porn, so fans of that will be unsatisfied, it’s not a biopic of Boz Scaggs where he reveals the secrets of the Lido Shuffle, and it’s not a decent mystery, thriller, procedural, or drama, so fans of those will be left wanting. And it’s certainly not an action movie, though there is one really funny moment at the end (that should have happened a lot earlier, and more moments like it to boot - more stupidity on the part of the filmmakers) - but that’s not enough to save it.
The perfect time and place for Silk Degrees was Skinemax in the mid-90’s. In 2015 (or whenever you happen to be reading this), it, sadly, doesn’t cut it.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty