Crime Of Crimes (1989)

Crime Of Crimes
(1989)- * * *

Directed by: Alfredo Zacarias

Starring: David Carradine, Aldo Ray, Richard Yniguez, Miguel Rodriguez, Jimmy Williams, and Jeff Celentano 

Something sinister is happening on the streets of L.A. A kidnapper of children, using an ice cream truck for cover, is on the loose. A man by the name of Johnson (Ray) is the driver of said truck, but he's not a molester as you might think. He's shipping them off to someone credited as The 'Mad' Doctor (Williams) so their organs can be sold on the black market. Unfortunately for a good-natured dad named Paco Mendoza (Yniguez), two cops named Young (Celentano) and Silva (Rodriguez) think he's the culprit. Captain Frank McEntire (Carradine) doesn't know what to believe.

When Paco's daughter is abducted while he's being held in jail, the officers reluctantly have to admit he's not their guy. But now it's a race against time to find the organ harvesters and stop them before Paco's daughter is the next victim. Can anyone put an end to the CRIME OF CRIMES?

Just to avoid any confusion, Jesus Christ is the King of Kings. An obese, sweating Aldo Ray luring children into his ice cream truck so he can sell their organs is the Crime of Crimes. Now that that's cleared up, we can move on.

You might be wondering why we're taking such a lighthearted tone with such supposedly dark subject matter. That's because Crime of Crimes is such a goofball movie - as you might expect from director Alfredo Zacarias, the man behind the wonderfully whackadoo classic Demonoid (1981). COC (that's Crime of Crimes, not Corrosion of Conformity, as I'm sure the two get mixed up all the time), despite its presumably serious (?) intentions, comes off like one of those "disconnected from reality" movies, the closest comparison here being the canon of Amir Shervan. Besides, it's hard to see the seriousness of abducted children when a container of pee is being thrown in an old man's face. Yes, that happens. And it's not in a romp like Screwball's Vacation (1984). It's right here in Crime of Crimes!

Organ-harvesting movies have a rich tradition going back many years. B.O.R.N. (1989), The Harvest (1992), Pound of Flesh (2015), the list goes on and on. But Crime of Crimes has something all its competitors don't: a cast made of 80 percent English-As-A-Second-Language speakers. It's almost like Zacarias went out of his way to go to an ESL night class to cast his movie. Of course, the first credit you see on screen when you start the tape is "A David Carradine Production" - always words you want to see - so maybe he's behind that decision. Carradine chomps a cigar so enthusiastically, you can't tell a word he's saying either. 

Consequently, this might be the most unintelligible movie we've seen in years. Needless to say, that's a compliment, as it only adds to the ridiculous nature of everything we're seeing here, including the faces people make, their reactions, line readings, etc. It's all gold. Especially the enjoyably silly plot contrivances you just have to see to truly appreciate.

Jeff Celentano (credited here as Jeff Weston), was in Code Name Zebra (1987) and The Revenger (1990), among other action movies, before this one. He helps a lot to keep the movie afloat, and his partner Silva, as played by Miguel Angel Rodriguez, can't speak English too well, but that's ignored by everyone. It didn't stop Rodriguez from having a huge career in Mexico, however. Aldo Ray and Carradine are the names here (although Yniguez was on seemingly every TV show in the 70's and 80's) and it's all a bunch of fun, "what were they thinking?" sort of entertainment.

Released in the golden year of 1989, the VHS tape of Crime of Crimes appears to be quite rare. Released on VCI Home Video, as if this whole outing wasn't nutty enough, after the credits there is a PSA done by an organization from Carrollton, Texas that is trying to save the children. They seem very well-meaning. They didn't seem to realize that putting their PSA after a nutty movie like Crime of Crimes might not be the best way to achieve their goals. But, hey, you gotta start somewhere.

Crime of Crimes is a solid case of "only in the 80's, only in video stores could this have happened". Do check it out. For the CHILDREN!

Comeuppance Review by: Brett  and Ty

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