I apologize for how late this review is. I had a busy weekend, and I needed to put a little extra effort into making the video I’m closing this with.
I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting out of Jill the Ripper. The idea of a movie starring Dolph Lundgren going anywhere near the topic of S&M should have elicited some pretty awful images in my mind, thus preparing me for them. I failed to make the connection early enough, so I was not quite ready. Not quite ready at all.
We begin the film with a corpse.
Funtimes. Oh, and apparently the story is set in 1977. The exact year Star Wars came out! I’m not sure if that’s relevant, but let’s just say it is.
A detective arrives on the scene and recognizes the corpse. He knows just how crappy the next few days are going to be.
Cut to the victim’s funeral. The detective sees another familiar face in Dolph Lundgren… or rather, Matt Sorenson, the brother of the victim and a former police sergeant (and former boxer, but that’s only implied in a couple of fight scenes).
By the way, the VHS box says Dolph Lundgren plays “Murray Wilson.” There is no one by that name in the movie.
Turns out, Matt decided to turn his life around for his new passion: drinking. Lundgren does a surprisingly respectful job portraying this role, at least until the direction takes it overboard. Not his fault. Though one wonders just what Lundgren did to prepare for this role.
Matt immediately voices his concerns to the detective, Eddie, that his brother might have been killed by a businessman named Conway because he was a thorn in Conway’s side.
Matt also asks who a certain hottie is, and he’s informed that it’s his brother’s widow, Irene. Yeah, we can tell you were totally close to your brother.
Matt then attends an autopsy and learns that his brother’s body was mutilated after death, but there are no signs that he resisted being tied up in the complex rope knots he was found in. There were no signs of sedative in his blood either. Matt decides to completely ignore the strange circumstances of his brother’s death and attends a groundbreaking event held by Conway. Because this is TOTALLY Conway’s MO for some reason.
So obviously, the best course of action is to approach Conway and let him know that he suspects him. Because screw subtlety.
Matt decides to investigate Conway’s newest project, which now has no resistance after his brother died. He doesn’t get far before he meets the mighty shovel of Joe Juvavia.
Joe Juvavia has the most hilarious, mood-destroying voice, BTW.
Next, we cut to murder #2 in progress.
This time, the victim lost his head, but probably accidentally after he was killed. Not sure how relevant that is.
At a family dinner, police captain Pierce arrives and tells Matt to stop snooping around in places he doesn’t belong since he’s not a cop. This pisses Matt off because… well honestly, it seems everything pisses Matt off nowadays. Pierce brings up the new murder victim, which for some reason pisses IRENE off, and Matt is all too happy to kick Pierce out for no good reason.
So yeah… that scene made no damned sense. I think they were making a big deal about not letting Mrs. Sorenson know about the nature of her son’s death, but nothing about the timing of that conversation made sense.
Anyway, Matt is off to track down the only lead he has: Shovelguy. Matt asks a friend about the guy and his connection to Conway. He talks about a time they were shadowing Conway and noticed Matt’s brother Mike leaving a party Conway threw with a hooker. Matt decks him for insinuating that Mike is anything but a saint. Them anger issues.
Anyway, Matt moves on to track down pimps and starts getting friendly with a fat whore.
Then Matt gets into trouble with a pimp. Because pimps be everywhere in the 70’s.
Matt uses his boxing skills to give the pimp’s muscle a beatdown, but he got what he came for. His next lead is another whore named Mary.
So Matt begins his interrogation… which consists of hitting and threats. And he’s got a gun, so the threat part works. Mary agrees to talk, but says she has to use the bathroom first. Matt obliges. That gives Mary the opportunity to release her dreaded Bathroom Dog!
Matt takes the Bathroom Dog out Captain America style by kicking it away and shooting at it while it runs away. While this is going on, Mary is just laughing like a dumbass and NOT trying to escape, making this just a waste of time and pissing Mr. Pissy off even more.
These characters. They make no sense.
Anyway, Matt gives her one last threat then walks away.
In the next morning’s paper, there’s a story about what the police now believe to be a serial killer / whore affectionately labeled “Jill the Ripper.”
It seems Matt and Irene can no longer prevent Mrs. Sorenson from learning the horrible truth about her son’s death. And that’s kinda sad, but then we move on because no one gives a crap.
Matt goes for the direct approach and threatens Conway in his car by… basically just having Conway in the back seat while he drives recklessly. I mean… seriously? You randomly beat the crap out of pimps and whores, but for Conway you just give him a joyride? Whatever.
Conway decides he’s going to confess… And by confess, he shows Matt a movie reel of Mike undergoing some really kinky domination play.
Matt finally is forced to admit that the prostitute serial killer angle could be legit, and the police are actually competent. He asks who the girl in the movie is, but Conway isn’t there. But a large group of lackeys are. Matt gets a few hits in, but gets stomped to the ground. And then Juvavia shows up, shovel in tow. Seriously, does he carry that shovel around EVERYWHERE?
Matt gets offscreen stripped, tied up, and dragged into what appears to be a salt mine for some reason… while mysterious red leather chick watches from afar.
The mystery chick approaches Matt, pulls out a knife, and stabs.
Welp, guess that’s the movie. Tragic, really…
So, apparently Matt was dumped off somewhere and Irene found him. How much of that previous scene really happened, we may never know.
Back at the Sorenson household (or whatever) Matt catches a glimpse of Irene… because he’s still investigating or whatever… and he confronts her, asking why she never mentioned that Mike was into that kinky stuff and egged him into pursuing the false Conway lead.
Since Irene had scars on her back, we can only assume Mike was both an S and an M.
Apparently, when Irene decided she didn’t want to be part of Mike’s interests anymore, he started seeking out “professional” help. Also, anyone with even passing familiarity with mysteries should be suspecting Irene heavily right about now, but I guess the writer thinks we’re stupid.
Matt begins his investigation anew, this time focusing on S&M places and honing in on anyone who matches the description of the girl in the video. He has it narrowed down to a platinum blonde who goes by either Frances or Ursula.
Matt pays for a session with… Ivy Valentine, I guess… and does a piss-poor job of pretending to be a customer and gets security sic’d on him.
The fight unexpectedly ends when the bouncer recognizes Matt, and Matt recognizes the bouncer as the former cruiserweight champion. The bouncer gives whatever info he has on the girl named Frances.
Matt tracks down Frances’ apartment and scopes it out.
But he needs Mary to confirm her identity. Because at some point I can’t recall, Mary admitted to meeting with the girl in the video. He gets Mary to go along with him via his usual brand of physical threats and verbal threats. He only makes it as far as the lobby when he notices the name listed on the room Frances entered: “F. Reed.”
Matt returns to Irene and gets her to confess that her real name is Ursula and she has a sister named Frances. Then she goes on to mention how she and her sister were adopted by the Reeds, Frances was raped by their foster father, and Irene chose to run away when she noticed she was being targeted next. Then Frances followed and started working as a whore. Then she suggested her husband go to Frances to sate his needs. Yep, looks like this is all Frances’ doing.
Matt gets Eddie as backup while Matt enters Frances’ room for a session and hopes to catch her in the act of attempting to kill him… which is about as good a plan as he’s ever going to formulate.
What follows is an incredibly awkward scene of Dolph Lundgren being subjected to bondage and domination.
Eddie listens in on a bug hidden in Matt’s clothing and waits for Matt to give the code word to allow Eddie to storm in. It gets tricky when Matt gets ball gagged. And then Juvavia shows up and Eddie just goes “F it” and robs Juvavia of his key. Then he breaks into Frances’ place and shoots her dead. He says she was about to stab Matt, but in her hand was… not a knife. That’s all I really know about whatever the hell was in her hand.
Matt starts freaking out while Eddie looks around for ANY knife to plant on her to justify his shooting her. Not very satisfying, but they figure “the hell with it” and congratulate each other for a job well done.
Then Matt and Irene have awkward, strangely violent, “we-just-killed-your-sister” sex.
No full penetration. Apologies to Dennis Reynolds.
After, Irene gives Matt a massage… and ties his hands behind his back. Then mysteriously disappears.
Despite her strange disappearance, Matt decides NOT to suspect anything… until a person shows up the next morning claiming to be “Mrs. Reed,” who would be Irene’s foster mother. And who Irene also claimed was dead.
Matt roots around Irene’s belongings and discovers something pretty damning:
The first place Matt goes to is Mary’s place. He does his usual physical threats, then shows him a picture of Irene and tells Mary to imagine her with a wig. Mary immediately confirms that Irene is the mystery girl she saw. Then she shoots her gun at Matt. Twice. And misses both times. Because she finally decided she had enough, I guess. Then Matt shoots Mary in the chest.
Matt decides to look for Irene and somehow ends up in the same tunnel where he first met Juvavia. And Irene’s there.
Matt tells Irene that she doesn’t have the right to kill Juvavia, who probably has nothing to do with… whatever motivation Irene has. Irene’s response is some bullshit about how as a woman she has no rights, because potentially being raped by her foster father and slighted by her ex-husband is somehow equivalent to gender inequality.
And then Juvavia shows up. Irene attacks, but Juvavia kinda easily overpowers her. Then Matt is forced to kill Juvavia.
Matt decides to cover up his killing Juvavia and Mary by dragging Juvavia’s body over to Mary’s.
Seriously, Matt gets questioned about what he thinks happened. Matt says “Romeo and Juliet?” Eddie goes with it and calls it an open-and-shut case, and Matt gets off scot-free with two murders. It was a good day.
But Irene once again disappears, this time for good. The film closes with a shot of him sitting alone, petting a dog. Wait…
This movie was just a mess. Half the time it seems like it’s trying to be serious and does a halfway good job of it… but then insane shit like the S&M stuff, the fat hookers, and freaking Joe Juvavia show up, and you can’t take it the least bit seriously.
There is just no way to properly explain how cartoonish Juvavia is. You have to see it:
Sure, Juvavia’s a pimp, but outside of that it’s hard to really get a handle on his character. He works for Jim Conway, and apparently he takes his job VERY seriously. There’s literally nothing in the tunnel that’s suspicious, but even so he blindly attacks Matt just because he sees him wandering around. And for some reason, he knows Matt is an ex-policeman and repeats this fact any chance he gets. Finally, that ridiculous accent that sounds like it could only have come from a crappy foreign dub.
Next time is a double dose of anime reviews, hopefully. Currently at the top of the pile are Robo Formers and Blue Sonnet.