Friday, April 29, 2011

Pornonomy Reviews: Tropic of Passion

Tropic of Passion (1973)

Directed by:
Bob Chinn

Chlorine Stillwater
Patti Snyder
Sandi Carey
Sandy Dempsey
John Holmes
Mike Haven

"I couldn't wait to get my hands on that slippery Oriental."

Uttered by Johnny Wadd (Holmes...duh), those words precede what could be the best scene in Tropic of Passion, the second of two gloriously amateurish fight scenes. Both see private detective Wadd, hired to retrieve the sex tape of heiress-to-be Ruth Miller (Snyder), facing the "Oriental" gangster Fuk Yu (Chinn), the presumed mastermind behind the blackmail. Both are shot from what seems like 200 yards away and both primarily involve Wadd getting his ass kicked. In the second, though, after a series of Karate 101 arm tosses, Wadd gets the upper hand only to find out that Yu doesn't actually have the film. It's actually in the hands of Ruth's attorney Alex Royal (Haven). What a twist!

Anyway, Tropic of Passion is a pretty early Chinn film - Wadd Series or otherwise - and it shows. The plot largely unfolds by way of expository voice overs between sex scenes that are formulaic and boring and much more of the loop ilk than the "feature" scenes that would prevail later in the decade. The cast is small and unremarkable. Haven's lack of charisma and sexual prowess actually makes his three credit bio seem at least two credits too long.

Taken as a whole, the film would be lucky to merit a D. However, the ability to fast forward through the sex scenes to get to the entertaining non-sex parts (in fact, a 12 minute Youtube edit would be the best way to watch this movie), the half impressive half unnecessary Hawaii location shooting, and the liberal use of Ennio Morricone's "Ecstasy of Gold" push it up to a C-.