“Sweet Revenge” (citywide) is slapstick comic book violence of undistinguished pedigree. This yarn of modern white slavery ambles along as if its only intent was not to offend anyone living or dead--real or fictional. The result is an insult to everyone’s intelligence, whether they were involved in the making or watching of the film.

Nancy Allen plays Jillian Gray, a Los Angeles television reporter earnestly investigating the disappearance of local women. Taking a tip from Bob Woodward, she meets and records her Deep Throat in a parking garage. But no sooner does he spill the beans than he’s murdered by a contemporary Spider Woman (Lotis Key).

The killer and her cohort proceed to murder Allen’s technician, steal the tapes, kill her husband or boyfriend (a character so wholly dispensable that their relationship is never explained), abduct her young daughter and trundle the reporter off to the Far East base of evil overlord Cicero (Martin Landau). Also taken are a trio of young women duped by the promise of a modeling career.


The film is basically a knock-off of women-in-peril pictures set in exotic locales with nods to executive producer Roger Corman’s earlier “Nurses” and “Teachers” films. Director Mark Sobel and no fewer than five writers toss in a sprinkling of Indiana Jones in the form of American expatriate scam artist Boone (Ted Shackelford). He serves as guide, romantic interest and kindling and tips the audience to the film’s mockish intent when, confronting an enemy, he inquires: “Didn’t you ever see ‘Butch Cassidy?’ ” Although unanswered, it’s obvious the film makers did see George Roy Hill’s popular 1969 Western saga without absorbing any of its finer points.

The detainees, via luck and coincidence, escape and eventually, donning commando gear, turn the tables on the baddies. But you’d hardly call it sweet revenge as they rack up a body count rivaling “Platoon” while the sound track rises to a deafening pitch. You can feel the attitude of ugly Americanism seep through the cracks in plot and logic to reveal the truly repugnant nature of this simple-minded exercise.

Distinguished primarily as the first U. S. production shot in the Philippines under the Aquino regime, “Sweet Revenge” (MPAA-rated: R, for some nudity, language and excessive violence) is short, vigorous and hideous.