Ah Hawaii…our fiftieth state. Home of hula dancers, luaus, and Don Ho. Of course, it is also home to that most secret arm of our government known simply as “The Agency.” With it’s team of muscle men and lethal ladies, The Agency is the worst nightmare of drug dealers and gun runners the world over. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the world of Andy Sidaris. Starting with 1985’s Malibu Express, Sidaris directed and/or produced twelve films bringing his brand of bullets and babes to the screen. Today we tackle the third chapter in the series, 1988’s Picasso Trigger.
Our film begins in Paris, thanks to stock footage of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, where a wealthy and mysterious man named Salazar (John Aprea) is donating a valuable painting to a museum. The painting is of a Picasso Trigger Fish, which also happens to be Salazar’s code name. Ah, the title explained! Unfortunately, someone in Paris is not much of an art lover, ‘cause they gun down Salazar on the steps of the museum. When news of this hits, it puts our friends at The Agency on the alert. They figure that Salazar was taken out by Miguel Ortiz (Rodrigo Obregon) who is seeking revenge for the death of his brother.
Soon, members of The Agency are being targeted by a bevy of killers – especially Sidaris regulars Donna (Dona Speir) and Taryn (Hope Marie Carlton). One morning when the two head out to do some snorkeling, their boat is blown up when a remote control toy plane dive bombs into it. Meanwhile, Agency honcho Travis (Steve Bond) is trying to get to the bottom of things with the help of an old flame, Pantera (Roberta Vasquez). Donna is more than a little suspicious, and jealous, of Pantera. Still, there is plenty of explosions and hot tubbing before the gang starts to unravel this twisted web.
I tell ya, this “agency” is quite the organization. They obviously have very specific qualifications for their agents. For the guys you need to wear gold chains and look like the sexy sax man from The Lost Boys. As for the ladies, they need to show considerable showering skills. The Agency even has a Q type gadgets man they call “The Professor.” He sets our heros up with a remote-controlled car that can explode a house, a boomerang rigged with explosives, and a crutch that doubles as a missile launcher. These sort of silly gimmicks do manage to make the last third of the movie fun. This is where the girls hunt down and blow up all the bad guys. Capturing the baddies and making them face justice is not on the agenda. Just find them and blow them up.
Getting to the explosive finale, however, is a bit of a slog. Besides following Donna and Taryn around there are a few other storylines that make no sense. At times we focus in on agents Kym (Kym Malin) and Patticakes (Patty Dufek) who have a cover as some sort of dancing cowgirls in a Vegas club. They team up with another agent who looks like Terry Crews with a jheri curl to take out some villains. We also have a subplot where agent Edy (Cynthia Brimhall) teams up with another muscle man to pose as phone company employees to take out some bad guys. It results in a crazy kung fu sequence that includes a strange moment of eye gouging. All these subplots have some unintentionally funny moments, but also really make the so-called plot confusing. I was actually glad for some of the inane moments of plot exposition in the script ‘cause I would’ve been completely lost otherwise.
Of course, most of the female cast members appeared in the pages of Playboy magazine at some point. Let’s just say their acting skills reflect the level of talent one might expect from that prestigious acting school. In the interest of equality I should point out that the men don’t fare any better. The performances are labored at best, and director Sidaris apparently lacked the skills to finesse anything more out of his cast. But the man did know how to make things go boom and that makes the final act of Picasso Trigger a bit of fun. Everything else is, quite frankly, a mess.