Accidental Fun with Dangerous Men

Drafthouse Films

Drafthouse Films

Mina (Melody Wiggins) loves Daniel. They share dinner with her father to ask his permission to wed and then head for a drive to the coast, but their romance is sadly doomed. A pair of horny bikers assaults them on the beach, and when the sand clears both Daniel and one of the assailants are dead. Mina immediately shifts gears and comes onto the remaining bad guy leading to a nice dinner and a motel room for the night. He’s expecting sexy shenanigans, but she surprises him by unclenching her buttocks to reveal a sharp and deadly surprise! She charts a course for revenge against all of the masculine trash of the world, and lucky for her they appear to be lining up to cross her path.

Running parallel to her journey of blood-lust is Daniel’s policeman brother, David (Michael Gradilone), who’s using his vacation time to investigate Daniel’s murder. The trail leads to a legendary ruffian named Black Pepper (Bryan Jenkins) – who had nothing to do with anything but has “killed more men than the ‘Nam war” – and soon David is up to his neck in mean, rapey bikers.

Dangerous Men is the latest release from one of the planet’s most eclectic distributors, Drafthouse Films. The film was begun in the ’80s but not “finished” and released until 2005, and it’s now being billed as belonging to the same category of WTF cinema as Miami Connection (my review), The Visitor (my review), and Roar. While it shares their amateurish sensibilities though (with Miami Connection in particular) it’s severely lacking when it comes to their passion. There’s fun to be had here, most notably when viewed with a midnight audience, but it stems from utter incompetence as opposed to heart, creativity, and/or pure insanity.

That incompetence really can’t be overstated.

Filmmaker John S. Rad – an Iranian emigrate who came to the U.S. as Jahangir Salehi Yeganehrad in the late ’70s – is credited as creator, “screenplay writer,” producer, composer, executive producer, director, editor, production designer, casting director, and location scout, but his appearance as a jack of all trades reveals him to be a master of none. (Also of note, several of the crew members in the end credits are listed with a first name only.) Every single element here shows a complete lack of understanding as to how a movie should be made.

Acting and dialogue are laughable across the board, from the main characters on down to the smallest supporting turn, and the audio is a nightmare unto itself. An early restaurant scene features the sound of background noise audible only when our leads are talking and absent otherwise, and there’s no evidence that Rad gave a damn about hiding his almost non-stop ADR work. Sets and music cues all feel lifted from pornos, and a TV news broadcast appears to use a set borrowed from AlJazeera.

Editing in general appears to have been Rad’s biggest challenge as the film jumps around in time – sometimes with a shimmering screen meant to signify a flashback, sometimes not – and teases characters and plot threads left unexplored or unexplained. The issue is probably due in part to Rad’s decade-plus of filming – actors came and went, stand-ins and sudden narrative dead ends took their place – but his script isn’t helping anyone either.

Review grades serve a purpose – they’re meant to offer a shorthand look at a film’s quality – but they don’t tell the entire story. Dangerous Men earns a low grade because, if we’re all being honest, it’s a bad movie, but it’s still a movie that promises to entertain under the right circumstances. Namely, late at night, under the influence, and surrounded by like-minded fans.

The Upside: Accidentally entertaining at times

The Downside: Inept in *every* way

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