Image Entertainment presents
Bikini Bandits Save Christmas (2004)
"'Twas the summer before Christmas..."- opening credits scroll
Stars: Larry McGearty, Maynard James Keenan, Schooly D, Elianna Kelly
Director: Steve Grasse
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, violence, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:03m:10s
Release Date: 2004-10-26
DVD ReviewNormally Christmas-themed releases are full of typically maudlin sentiment and contrite introspection, though they usually can instill a smidgen of manufactured goodwill when watched in the glow of a well-lit holiday tree. Steven Grasse, the creator of sexy internet short film darlings the Bikini Bandits, borrows from the South Park philosophy and works to rip and claw at Christmas, all the while making the big mistake of animating his bikini clad heroines.
The original live-action Bikini Bandits shorts (which only ran five to seven minutes each) were a sloppy mix of music video, smutty humor, and plenty of near naked women with guns, and their success on the internet made them minor celebs to fans of sites like www.atomfilms.com. The plots were loose, and really just an excuse to parade around attractive women with bad attitudes in tiny bikinis. This latest outing from Grasse moves into the Flash animation realm, and for me that's close to being a deal breaker because the whole lurid appeal of the sleazy Bandits in the first place is, well, the bikinis.
What did you expect me to say, the storytelling?
In Bikini Bandits Save Christmas, perennial corporate villains GMart (Grasse's fictitious evil convenience store chain) have somehow purchased the rights to the holiday, and threaten to muck it up beyond all comprehension. That is, unless the Bikini Bandits can battle their way past voodoo strippers, gangsta thugs, gay clowns, and a S.W.A.T. team to rescue Santa, who, in an amazing convenience, turns out to be head Bandit Heather's dear old dad. As you might expect, the story careens around like a stray bullet, offering just visuals of a boozed-up Santa getting a lap dance or a recurring gag about his magic sack.
To his credit, animator Paul Thiel has given Bikini Bandits Save Christmas the look and feel of a comic book (especially the beautifully drawn Russian prison sequence), but while the animation is very minimal, the use of color and framing nearly makes this uneven conglomeration watchable. Grasse tries a bit too hard to go beyond edgy with the material, and some of the off-color gags do manage to hit their marks on occasion, but all the trashy humor and animated breasts don't make up for the absence of real live Bikini Bandits. That's what makes the sophomoric material in the live-action shorts tolerable, or at least acceptable, because the whole foundation is built on real women with guns in bikinis. Animation just isn't the right format.
Sad, but true.
Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Image has issued Bikini Bandits Save Christmas in 1.33:1 full-frame. As a somewhat animated feature, color reproduction is really quite attractive, with a rich, bright palette that brings to mind a nicely inked comic.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in 2.0 surround, and for a tacky bit of low-brow entertainment it offers surprisingly clean and lively sound quality. Rear channels get some activity, but the bulk of the presentation remains in the front.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 7 cues
Extras Review: Rumor is, the street copy will have more extras, but my screener was bare. No extras, not even a menu—the feature just starts. There are seven chapter stops, but they seem like accidental or haphazard afterthoughts as opposed to any type of formal placement.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsThis one loses any credibility right out of the box by animating the Bikini Bandits, which just ain't right no matter how you slice it. Steven Grasse can lob all the politically and racially incorrect gags he wants, and even mix in some animated nudity, but it is a long reach to expand the very name of the Bikini Bandits franchise into animation.
It's just not the same.
Rich Rosell 2004-10-25