“…a strong heart beating beneath its pasty-adorned chest.”
Three years ago, Cher and Christina Aguilera tried to syphon off the great buzz generated by Chicago with the big-screen musical Burlesque. The film tanked due to its many flaws, but perhaps the most egregious is the fact that it had about one burlesque number throughout its runtime. Rather, it was yet another “let’s-dance-to-save-a-failing-club” hip-grinder.
The independent Canadian production, Burlesque Assassins, knows the artform well and it’s not afraid to flaunt it. By assembling some of the biggest names in its current resurgence, Assassins strings together a number of routines with a crazy-fun Nazi-killin’ romp of a story.
And gals. Plenty of sassy, voluptuous gals.
Set during the close of the second World War, superspy Johnny Valentine (played by Armitage Shanks, known as “The Carny Preacher” in Burlesque circles) assembles an international team of lethal lovelies to take down the spawn and/or clones of the world’s most notorious nasties — Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini.
It’s up to Bombshell Belle (played by Kiki Kaboom), Bourbon Sue (played by Roxi D’Lite), Missy Starlight (played by Koko La Douce) and Katarina Molotov (played by Carrie Schiffer) to save the world from certain destruction if the bad guys get their hands on a powerful new weapon.
Lucky for the Assassins (and for us), the ladies are packing plenty of weapons of their own. Aside from the obvious assets, they also have access to bladed hand-fans, armed tassels, and garrote-strength feathered boas.
Writer/director Jonathan Joffe knows his budget is tight, so much rests on the charm of the cast while he stages some creative cinematography. And luckily, these performers know their way around a stage.
Sexy, silly and self-aware, Burlesque Assassins may never break out of its core audience of admirers, but it would be a shame if it does not catch the eye of those in Hollywood who could appreciate its many charms and provide an even bigger stage on which the filmmakers and cast can perform.
For Assassins has a strong heart beating beneath its pasty-adorned chest.
Review by Rob Rector, Lead Entertainment Writer