• Picasso Trigger (Mill Creek Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: July 9th, 2019.
    Director: Andy Sidaris
    Cast: Steve Bond, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Harold Diamond, John Aprea, Roberta Vasquez
    Year: 1985
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    Picasso Trigger – Movie Review:

    Picasso Trigger opens when the owner of the titular painting (John Aprea) is assassinated after giving a speech at a Parisian museum after donating the painting to the place. It turns out he was a double agent. From here, we cut to Hawaii, of course, and once again catch up with Dona (Dona Speir) and Taryn (Hope Marie Carlton) who, at this point, have just woken up. After their obligatory showers they cram what the good Lord gave them into some Body Glove wetsuits and it’s off to work.

    A short time later, their houseboat is blown up by a remote control plane! It turns out that a mobster named Miguel Ortiz (Rodrigo Obregón) – the same man who killed the double agent in the opening scene - is hell-bent on doing away with all of the agents who work for the association in which Dona and Taryn are employed, that being ‘The Agency.’ To respond to this threat, The Agency assigns a group of male and female agents alike. One such agent is Travis (Steve Bond), he’s teamed up with Pantera (Roberta Vasquez) and we soon learn that they have a past together – she was into him in high school and he wouldn’t give her the time of day. They decide to make up for lost time (although Vasquez, a former Playmate of course, is surprisingly, one of the few women in the film to keep her top on for the entire time).

    It turns out that Ortiz is out for revenge, as The Agency took out his brother some time ago – will the agents take him out before he kills them, or will he get the revenge he so desperately wants?

    Picasso Trigger is middle tier Sidaris, neither his best nor his worst film. His patented ‘bullets, bombs and babes’ formula keeps things interesting enough – there’s a good bit of completely unnecessary and wholly gratuitous nudity here, a few moderately bloody shootouts and almost half a dozen or so top notch explosions – but the plot lacks the insane energy of something like Hard Ticket To Hawaii or even Seven. Still, despite a few sluggish spots it manages to entertain. It’s got the aforementioned remote control plane scene which is kind of neat, and a remote control car too. The film also has a mildly interesting speedboat chase through a rather scenic river. The locations are nicely photographed and the cinematography is quite good. There are a few neat gadgets in this one as well, the most obvious being a crutch that is also rocket launcher of some sort – it’s basically a regular crutch with a calculator glued onto it, and it’s given to one of the agents by The Professor (Richard LePore, reprising his role from Seven!). Sidaris also manages to work in some of his patented aerial photography and a hovercraft, so there’s that too. Hovercrafts are pretty boss.

    Dona Spier and Hope Marie Carlton are their typically enjoyable selves. They don’t have a whole lot of range here but they don’t need to. Their delivery is never all that good but they try and there’s something charming about that. They look to be having a lot of fun at least. Harold Diamond, instantly identifiable from Hard Ticket To Hawaii and Rambo III reprises his role as Jade while soap opera star Steve Bond is fine as the male lead. Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention Kym (Kym Malin of Enemy Gold) and Patticakes (Patty Duffek, of Savage Beach), two scantily clad showgirls (and former Playmates, of course!), who show up in the movie a couple of times and who deliver some really awkward dance routines.

    It isn’t high art and it’s got plot holes the size of a small planet but if you’re willing to throw logic out the window it’s a perfectly fine way to kill ninety-five-minutes.

    Picasso Trigger – Blu-ray Review:

    Picasso Trigger arrives on a 50GB Blu-ray disc framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer taken from a new 4k restoration provided by AGFA and it looks really nice. The feature takes up just under 29GBs of space on the disc. Colors are nice and black levels are also strong. The greens of the Hawaiian scenes look particularly lush. The film’s many, many skin tones look nice and natural. There are no noticeable issues with any edge enhancement or noise reduction and the disc is free of obvious compression artifacts. There isn’t much in the way of print damage at all either, a few white specks now and then but unless you’re looking for them for the purpose of writing an anal retentive review, you’re not going to even notice them. All in all, a very solid picture.

    The DTS-HD 2.0 audio track does what it can with the limitations of the source material. Dialogue is clean and clear and properly balanced and both the score and the effects work all sound just fine. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and optional subtitles are provided in English.

    Aside from a quick introduction with Sidaris and Julie Strain, the main extra on the disc is an audio commentary courtesy of Andy and Arlene Sidaris. Like the rest of the tracks that they did together over the years, it’s a fun listen. Andy talks about how and why they got actual footage from Paris (using Andy’s connections from when he worked at ABC Sports), France to use in the film, shooting for a full day with 800ft of film for this picture and no permits! They also talk about landing John Aprea, who was a bit soap opera star at the time, for this picture as well as shooting in Louisiana and how cooperative people there were. They also talk about shooting ‘in Texas’ but which was really Newport Beach and Honolulu, the use of the Malibu Express boat in the picture, casting Steve Bond first outside of the woman in the film, shooting the different explosions in the film and what that entailed, shooting on location in Vegas, using Edy’s in this and other films in the Sidaris’ oeuvre, the importance of setting up proper establishing shots, how much they enjoyed working with Dona Speir and Hope Marie Carlton again, doubling Shreveport for Dallas, enlisting the aid of the local police to shoot the speedboat chase scene in Texas, Andy’s penchant for getting creative with angles for the nude scenes and sex scenes in the film, shooting in the interior of the Playboy building in Los Angeles, how and why ‘Kym and Patticakes’ wound up in the picture, the wardrobe featured in the film and lots, lots more. Clearly Andy and Arlene had a great relationship, this comes across in all of their tracks and this one is no exception. There’s a charming sense of warmth and humor here that makes this just an absolute joy to listen to.

    Additionally, the disc includes a thirty-six-minute making of featurette with Andy, Arlene and Julie Strain – who look like they’re having a lot of fun. They open by talking about how they wound up working with Strain, who isn’t in Picasso Trigger, before then letting Andy point out the different actors and actresses on the poster and telling some anecdotes about them. Strain models a Picasso Trigger t-shirt, Andy talks about editing audio on a DA88 tape and using computers (well, Andy doesn’t use the computer but somebody does). From there it goes into a weird mix of Strain related stuff and movie related stuff. They talk about how a Spanish language magazine helped them translate their website into Spanish and more. Strain shows up and models for a bit and then we get some great footage of Joe Bob Briggs interviewing Dona Spier and Roberta Vasquez, some archival interview footage with Andy himself talking about how handsome the male actors he used in the film are and why he casts playmates. Then, for some reason, we get behind the scenes footage from ‘Savage Beach II’ and then some vintage promo footage for Picasso Trigger.

    Rounding out the extras are trailers for a host of Malibu Bay productions like Malibu Express, Hard Ticket To Hawaii, Picasso Trigger, Savage Beach, Guns, Do Or Die, Hard Hunted, Fit To Kill, Enemy Gold, The Dallas Connection, Day Of The Warrior and Return To Savage Beach. Menus and chapter selection options are also provided. All of the extras included on the disc are carried over from the older DVD releases.

    Picasso Trigger – The Final Word:

    Picasso Trigger isn’t the best film Sidaris ever made but it’s a pretty entertaining and fairly ludicrous mix of harmless nudity, goofy plotting, bad acting and general shenanigans. It’s a playful, goofy picture but it’s easy to have a good time with it. Mill Creek Entertainment has done a very nice job bringing it to Blu-ray with a fine transfer, good audio and all of the extras from the old DVD release carried over.

    Click on the images below for full sized Picasso Trigger Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. chriszilla's Avatar
      chriszilla -
      I just watched this film a few weeks ago, but for the life of me, I can't figure out what that 4th screen grab is a picture of?!?

      "The Professor" making an appearance isn't the only thing this film has in common with SEVEN. The plot device of all of the bad guys needing to be taken out within a short window of time was also used in the earlier film.

      The dance routines of "Kym and Patticakes" may be awkward, but if that show was playing in my area, I'd get there early for a table close to the stage!
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      The 4th cap is an exploding boat!