Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987) Director: Andy Sidaris Stars: Ronn Moss, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Harold Diamond, Rodrigo Obregón, Cynthia Brimhall, Patty Duffek, Wolf Larson, Lory Green, Rustam Branaman, David DeShay, Michael A. Andrews, Kwan Hi Lim, Joseph Hieu, Peter Bromilow
Hard Ticket to Hawaii is a film with true WTF moments, the funniest being a scene where two dudes in a jeep get shot at by a kid with a skateboard and a blow-up doll. Their response to the threat might be deemed by some as overkill – the driver hits him with the jeep, knocking him 20 feet into the air, then the other guy blows him up real good with a bazooka he happens to keep around for situations like this one. But the scene’s not done – the love doll was also thrown into the air, so the guy also blows it to smithereens (“Blow Up Doll” – Get It?!) Hey, you never know, that love doll might have given somebody a disease! It’s all part of the film’s “charm,” I guess, and by the way – the movie doesn’t answer the question of why the bad guy had an inflatable doll in the first place. But you should know better than to ask; after all, this is an “Andy Sidaris Film.”
For those not in the know, Andy Sidaris was a major sports guy in the 60s and 70s who directed television events, including Wide World of Sports and Monday Night Football (side trivia: he also directed an episode of Gemini Man, that goofy series starring Ben Murphy that was turned into Riding with Death and savaged on MST3K). His specialty was bringing the camera in close on cheerleaders and hottie spectators, aka the “honey shot.” I guess he really liked those shots, because in the 80s he started making action movies centered around them, featuring Playboy Playmates, Penthouse Pets, and B-movie bombshells like Sybil Danning. In fact, Sidaris named his special brand of cinematic output “The Triple B – Bullets, Bombs and Babes,” and had them all take place somewhere in Hawaii (usually Molokai). Whatever else you can say about Andy Sidaris, the guy knew exactly what kind of movies he was making, and his audience rewarded him for it.
Hard Ticket to Hawaii is the fourth of this group of movies, preceded by 1985’s Malibu Express (starring Sybil Danning and Darby Hinton), 1979’s Seven (starring William Smith) and 1973’s Stacey (starring Playboy Playmate Anne Randall). A Sidaris movie is nothing without its Playmates – this time around we get to ogle Dona Speir (Miss March 1984), Hope Marie Carlton (Miss July 1985), Cynthia Brimhall (Miss October 1985), and Patty Duffek (Miss May 1984). If you’re into muscle girls, Andy hasn’t forgotten about you – he includes Lory Green (aka female bodybuilder Lori Walkup) as an evil henchwoman. Of course, for the ladies watching, they get to ogle soap opera star Ronn Moss, who plays Dona Speir’s love interest. If you are one of those people who care about plot, I can tell you that Hard Ticket to Hawaii doesn’t give a rats ass about it, barely acknowledging the evil drug smugglers headed by a guy named Mr. Chang, played by British actor Peter Bromilow. Mr. Chang was raised in Hong Kong, and that’s all you really get to know about him, since his appearance in the film is so minimal. The more immediate baddie is a guy named Seth (Rodrigo Obregón) who does most of his dirty work in the film.
You immediately know what you are in for when Donna (Speir) climbs out of the water telling Rowdy (Ron Moss) to come into the water. He responds: “Are you kidding? I’ve got better things to do with my temperature!” She’s soon topless (which happens a lot – no complaints from me) but not until some exposition has informed us that she’s DEA. The next scene has two unfortunate local cops stumbling onto a drug smuggling operation (which is being done in broad daylight) and getting blown away. After the credits (“cleverly” written on pieces of paper attached to crates, but it looks to me like the money for a real credit sequence didn’t exist), we find out that Donna and her sidekick Taryn (Hope Marie Carlton) are undercover as cargo carriers who fly their own plane. Taryn is actually in the witness protection plan for reasons not worth getting into, but she likes to pretend that she’s in a James Bond film. When asked which Bond she likes best, she says “I don’t know… I’d give them all equal time!”