Seven 1979

Seven (1979)

I have often been intrigued by Andy Sidaris for a couple of reasons. The first is obviously his choice of exotic locations, vehicles and ladies for his niche collection of movies. The second would be his continuing output of movies that are of the same look and feel. How and why did he continue with the same type of movie without deviating from the form. Seven, like Stacey, sits outside of the mould he would create… somewhat. It was also one of his first films and I felt that it would be worth seeing before he moved into the Lethal Ladies series, not to mention the wife was out for the night.

Seven involves the Government hiring a freelance problem solver, played by the late William Smith, to take out seven top members of a criminal mob operating in Hawaii. Smith brings in seven… well… eight of his trusted pals to take down the seven mobsters at the same time, for the fee of $7 million dollars. There is a 30 minute window to take them all down as a personal warning system will alert the other members of the mob if one of the mobsters is killed and they may flee. A relatively simple story-line that shows some promise and thought.

The film is divided into two halves with the first becoming a little tiresome. Smith narrates as he travels from colleague to colleague to encourage their involvement and whilst initially done with a punchy and fresh take the 45 minute sequence overstays it’s welcome. Thankfully once the team is established and ready to get to work the punch is back and to stay as the pace picks up. Sidaris makes use of a lot of stock footage to show off the natural beauty of the islands, surfers zipping around the waves and has fun implementing this with the film’s own footage alongside a terrific soundtrack.

Sidaris is, as you would expect, not the master auteur that Scorsese or Kubrick might have been, however, he does manage to pull together an enjoyable, if rather rough, piece of escapism, filling the film with beautiful women, action and a whimsical approach. It’s impossible not to find something to enjoy and ignore the gluttony of problems. Scenes run long, dialogue feels disconnected and the writing needs more polish than the Royal Albert Hall. The cast (mostly) lacks the ability to land their lines naturally and some of Art Metrano’s stand up set has dated horribly.

Whilst the film does comprise of as larger portion of more adult material, when compared to The A-Team or something similar, Seven has a distinctly less violent appeal. There is a lot less gun play than other action movies of it’s time. Instead Sidaris sets up some chases, stunts and more imaginative take down approaches for the seven. Much of the climax is unpredictable as the audience has to guess in what way each villain is dispatched; a little like the Final Destination series, in reverse.

Smith is a decent lead, however, he has to appear in most of the wonky dialogue scenes. He is game for anything and obviously having fun running around, in disguise and working with inflatable dolls. Reggie Nalder has a particularly sinister role as the aging German hermit and his final scenes with Barbara Leigh are surprisingly well done. Karate coach to some of the biggest names in Hollywod Ed Parker performs a notable gag that Raiders of the Lost Ark would make popular a few years later.

Playboy playmates Barbara Leigh and Susan Kiger prove to be more than just models providing some decent performances. English babe and playmate Carol Needham makes her only screen appearance here in an uncredited role, yet proving one of the bigger laughs in the film. Familiar faces include The Karate Kid‘s Martin Kove has a beefy role and shares a fun scene with Police Academy 2 and 3‘s Art Metrano.

Seven is a bit of a treat. I really enjoyed it and not for the obvious reasons. The nudity is actually quite sparse and the action and explosions are fairly tame. The story is thin, but designed to deliver a lot of fun and even on this budget Sidaris managed a rewarding adventure.

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