Now, before you go harping on me, let me be perfectly clear on this one point: I have no problem with revenge films. In fact, I probably appreciate them more than the average non-professional movie reviewer. There's a vicarious thrill in experiencing revenge through the eyes, ears, and actions of a central player, be it DEATH WISH or the especially interesting FEMALE PRISONER #701: SCORPION and even the ANGEL series of films. Even a small handful of the girls-in-chains flicks can offer some modest thrills. The original I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (I haven't seen the remake) will never win any Academy Awards, but it might give a cult audience something to cheer about.
However, CHERRY BOMB is a fruity mess.
Cherry (played by Julin) is a stripper without a heart of gold. She spends her nights shaking her skin at the local Porky Hut (HINT: it isn't "Porky" but a much more precocious word you can figure out on your own, but kids don't ask your mom). One night, a group of five guys pay door guard to vamoose, and they go more than just a little too far with Cherry ... and voila! Vengeance is all that's on the menu, and Cherry's looking to dish up five bloody plates!
Now, we're never shown what happens to Cherry, and therein lies the biggest creative misstep. I'm not advocating that her physical abuse, assault, and torture needed to be photographed for the audience, but, once we find her in the hospital bed, she honestly never looked all that banged up. No respiration. No massive bandages or a body cast. No beeping machines. We see some blood, tears, and bruises, and that's the most of it. In flashbacks, we see one man give an angry slap; we see her tossed about a bit; we see somebody saying to hold her down; we're given some modest PG-13 indications of sexual assault; but our hero's trussing-up remains curiously absent.
Isn't that the heart of a good vengeance film? Aren't we supposed to see the lead reduced to a shred of her or his former self? Isn't that the single event that sets all of this in motion? Doesn't that need to be put up there - in all of its shameful, inglorious display - in order for the police refusal to seek out and deliver justice to be the true catalyst for the mission of revenge? Of course, I'm not advocating showing it ... but, without it or a clear description or full accounting of it, we're left with taking our less-than-noble hero at her word, and Cherry's not much of a talker.
Out of nowhere, her estranged brother shows up (why were they estranged? What made him show up? Who called him?), and, together, this brother-sister tag team man-up with the intention of putting the local scum six feet under. It's all predictable (but not so much laughably predictable, which would've been an asset). A local gun-runner is only too happy to provide the Cherry Bros. with a stockpile of weapons and ammo, and, without so much as a single gun class, brother and sister tote iron and spew lead. There's an even funnier bit with some big city hitman (his name is "Bull," folks, and he looks like Lenny Kravitz on steroids after a very late, very restless Saturday night) showing up with a contract to take Cherry out, but the man has to be the least convincing assassin committed to film. (To be fair, he gets a nice entrance scene, but it all goes downhill from there. Very fast.) There is a twist at the end that maybe - maybe - you didn't see coming, but only if you were watching another movie could, would, or should you miss it. Lastly, all of it is so amateurishly performed by the Texas Community Theatre League (or some other such group) that it lacks credibility, it stinks of incompetence throughout, and it's undoubtedly harder to swallow than anything Cherry's ever traded services for.
So far as this humble viewer is concerned, CHERRY BOMB is the kind of film you that should come with a written apology.
CHERRY BOMB was produced by Strike Anywhere Productions. DVD distribution is being handled through Well Go USA. Meh. The disc looks as fine as it needs, and, for that matter, it sounds about as well as it possibly could. What genuinely stinks here is the idea, the story, and the laughably inept acting.
NOT REALLY RECOMMENDED. Who knows what can happen with the passage of time? There's always a chance for a poorly made flick to become a cult classic, but, in all honesty, I can't see that happening to CHERRY BOMB. It isn't that it's poorly made because it isn't. It isn't because it's poorly executed because it isn't. Mostly, it's the fact that it's poorly conceived - a low-budget, illogical knock-off of 80's sleaze films that were never really intended to produce low-budget, illogical knock-offs. Had someone actually put some time, effort, and money into it, this CHERRY BOMB could've at least blown off a few laughs; as it stands, it's more of a ticking time-bomb than anything else. I can appreciate revenge as much as the next guy, but this is only bad filmmaking at its laziest.
In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at WELL GO USA provided me with a DVD screener of CHERRY BOMB by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.