'Dangerous Men': Film Review

Courtesy of Drafthouse Films
Ed Wood must be rolling over in his grave from jealousy.

Decades in the making, this 2005 example of egregiously bad filmmaking is sure to become an instant cult classic.

Among the opening credits for Dangerous Men is this one: "Created and written by John S. Rad." It's an appropriate description for this instant cult classic from 2005 that has been delivered as a gift to fans of egregiously bad movies by the enterprising folks at Drafthouse Films. If there was ever a reason to bring back Mystery Science Theater 3000, it's this.

The backstory is fascinating. The film, which was two decades in the making, was directed, scripted, produced and edited by one John S. Rad, who also contributed the production design and musical score. He was actually Jahangir Salehi Yeganehrad, an Iranian architect and filmmaker who emigrated to the United States in 1979, fleeing his country's political turmoil.

He began shooting his American opus sometime during the 1980s, working on it for the next twenty years or so as time and money allowed. It eventually received a theatrical release in 2005, supposedly earning $70 during its weeklong run at a Los Angeles theater. Rad died at the age of 70 two years later.

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And now the film is back in all its awful glory that would make Ed Wood green with envy. The story begins with loving, newly engaged couple Mina (Melody Wiggins) and Dan (Kelay Miller) enjoying a blissful stroll on the beach when they're attacked by a pair of thuggish bikers. During the ensuing melee, Dan and one of the bikers are killed, with the surviving assailant standing over Dan's body and yelling at him, "You son of a bitch, you're lucky you're dead!"

Rather than expressing outrage, Mina immediately comes on to the biker and offers to go with him to a hotel. There she strips naked and instructs him to rub her knees and lick her belly button. But it's all a ruse, as she has a knife wedged between her butt cheeks with which she stabs him to death. She then goes on a murderous rampage targeting the male sexual predators who apparently make up the vast majority of the L.A. population.

The first time she hitchhikes, she's picked up by a seemingly mild-mannered, middle-aged man who immediately transforms into a would-be rapist.  

"Why should I pass up this opportunity?" he asks himself. "She's god's gift to a henpecked husband!"

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After she turns the tables on him and leaves him naked in the desert, he hops around like a demented Woody Woodpecker for what seems like forever while loudly berating his penis.

The plot then segues to Dan's brother David (Michael Gradilone), a detective who begins investigating his sibling's murder even though, as his irritated chief keeps reminding him, he's supposed to be on vacation. His sleuthing leads him to a drug-dealing, bleached-blond villain with the moniker "Black Pepper" (Bryan Jenkins).

In his handling his multiple assignments Rad shows no discernible talent for any of them. The pacing is bizarre (at one point there's a long belly dancing interlude, for no apparent reason); the dialogue is laughably atrocious; the production values are non-existent; the acting is embarrassing; the fight scenes are ineptly staged, with loud sound effects failing to compensate for the fact that no blows are landed; and the synthesizer-heavy musical score sounds left over from a '70s porn film.  

Instant fodder for drinking games, Dangerous Men is a grand testament to its filmmaker's undeniable passion, tenacity and complete lack of talent.

Production: Simma Sims Productions

Cast: Melody Wiggins, Michael Gradilone, Kelay Miller, Bryan Jenkins

Director-screenwriter-producer-production designer-editor-composer: John S. Rad

Director of photography: Peter Palian

Not rated, 80 min.

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