From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
< Malibu Express
Imagine that Russ Meyer didn’t become an almost total recluse after making Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens and instead was tempted out of his semi-retirement to make a breast-obsessed TV-movie style mash-up of ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Magnum PI’ with an atrocious Country & Western soundtrack and a bunch of Playboy bunnies instead of actresses. Throw in lots of footage of car racing and a guest starring role for sexploitation uber-frau Sybil Danning. And some body-building bozos who look like life-size plastic He-Man figures. And a drag queen. And you pretty much have ‘Malibu Express’.
You really wanna know what to expect from this movie? In the opening scene we are introduced to a cute blonde race car driver called June Khnockers. There you have it. Cars and Boobs. And yes, that’s a silent H in Khnockers.
Private Dick Cody Abilene lives on a yacht called the Malibu Express and sports the requisite Tom Selleck moustache which seems to inspire ladies to instantly undress in his company. He’s recommended for an assignment by the president of his local yacht club and hooks up with the Contessa Luciana, played by the always dynamic Danning, to investigate some infernal Commie plot to acquire US computer technology. The plan is for Cody to stay a while with wheelchair bound Lady Chamberlain and her nieces as the Contessa suspects one of the family of dirty dealings with the rascally Russians. This is 1985 remember. Gorbachov and Reagan weren’t yet golfing buddies.
Shane, Lady Chamberlain’s beefcake chauffeur, is secretly screwing both the nieces, Liza and Anita, not to mention Anita’s husband Stewart who transforms nightly from a balding bespectacled bore into the most fabulous drag queen you ever saw! Even Cody has to admit this guy is a doll! Shane is in debt to the tune of 30,000 dollars to some dude called Doug and plans to blackmail cash out of Liza, Anita and Stewart using photos he’s secretly taken of each of them enjoying the pleasure of his ‘company’. It’s no surprise when shady Shane is murdered by a masked figure wearing a trench coat, he’s made plenty of enemies after all.
When Cody and his police-woman/love-buddy Beverley uncover Shane’s blackmail scheme and lay their hands on evidence of the killer’s true identity they too become targets for assassination leading to a wet t-shirt shoot-out in a beach house accompanied by one-liners quoted from ‘Dirty Harry’ and a race across the desert pursued by three shot gun toting bodybuilders called Matthew, Mark and Luke in a hijacked helicopter! And what does any of this have to do with the Communist computer conspiracy? Hell if I know. I’d given up on trying to keep track of all the many characters by this point and was just staring at the boobs.
For a movie in which most scenes revolve around either cars being driven very fast or women flashing their headlamps ‘Malibu Express’ has a head-achingly convoluted plot. In fact it has several plots. None of which are particularly interesting, they just kind of gang up on the viewer and impress by virtue of their numbers. Suffice to say there is a twist at the very end which requires that all the surviving characters assemble aboard the yacht and sit still long enough for Cody to intone some exceedingly long-winded exposition in true Agatha Christie whodunit style. You might wanna grab a drink before he gets started, everyone in the movie does!
‘Malibu Express’ is neither Andy Sidaris’ best nor worst movie, it’s just typical. Having made his name in TV as an acclaimed director of sports programmes Sidaris made the jump to feature films with 1973’s Stacey. In 1979 he helmed the William Smith action opus Seven followed by ‘Malibu Express’ in 1985. He proceeded to crank out variations on the boobs and bazookas recipe right through the late 80s and 1990s. Despite the tongue-in-cheek humour there’s a certain right-wing chauvinism to the writer/producer/director’s cocktail of hard bodies, heavy artillery and expensive automobiles that seems as vulgarly dated now as the bleached blonde mullets and frizzy perms that the ‘actresses’ sport. Andy Sidaris is indeed the Hugh Heffner of low budget action movies.
Regardless of your own level of testosterone, or indeed your tolerance for camp, there are still plenty of laughs to be had with (or at) ‘Malibu Express’ if you’re drunk enough. Highlights for me included Sybil Danning’s fabulous gravity defying evening attire and Lady Chamberlain’s top heavy maid Marion who looks like a frightening transvestite Christina Aguilera. But best of all is the scene in which the impressively upholstered June decides that although Cody’s attention is occupied driving a racing car at breakneck speed while they’re being pursued by three trigger happy goons in a chopper, it’s an ideal time to strip off and slap the Private Eye round the face with her Khnockers!
Narcan is the GCDb's esteemed UK contributor. As a youth his earliest exploitation film experience was a My Bloody Valentine/The Funhouse midnight double bill. Grindhouse icons that he holds in highest regards are Christina Lindberg and Frank Henelotter. Two of his favorite exploitation genres include Nunsploitation and Lucha Libre.