Angels Revenge is a 1979 movie from Arista Films, directed by Greydon Clark. It is also known as Angels' Brigade and Seven from Heaven.
The movie focuses on seven women who decide to fight the local drug cartel. The brother of Michelle Wilson, a Las Vegas pop singer, is found severely beaten. When taken to the hospital, the young man is found to have been on illegal drugs. The singer meets with April, her brother's teacher, who reveals that she's secretly been gathering intelligence on the cartel's local drug processing plant, and Michelle agrees to help April with a plan to destroy the plant. With Michelle's fame opening the door, they recruit four more women with special skills and connections to help them carry out their audacious goal. As they plan their first strike, they discover high-schooler Trish spying on them. The student gets relegated to phone duty, but eventually worms her way into their escapades. The "Angels" not only destroy the processing plant, but also manage to intercept one of the shipments. As a result, the women receive unwelcome attention from the local drug cartel.
Angels Revenge has major roles for Peter Lawford and Jack Palance as the leaders of a drug cartel, and gives minor roles to famous character actors Jim Backus, Alan Hale Jr., Pat Buttram and Arthur Godfrey (playing himself). Of the actresses who played the movie's seven female protagonists, however, the closest any had previously come to any degree of fame was Robin Greer, who won prominent roles on Ryan's Hope and Falconcrest. Susan Kiger was the Playboy Playmate of the Month for January 1977, and played singer Michelle Wilson; her co-stars were Sylvia Anderson as stuntwoman Terry Grant, Lieu Chinh as martial arts instructor Keiko Umaro, Jacqueline Cole as high-school teacher April, Noela Velasco as model Maria, and Robin Greer as policewoman Elaine Brenner. Robin's younger sister Liza Greer plays high-school student Trish, who invites herself into the team.
The original version (Brigade) did not have the How We Got Here In Medias Res opening. Rather, it started chronologically. The later version (Revenge) added the narration by Cole (who was incidentally Greydon Clark's wife).
For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page. MST3K alumni Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Nelson riffed the uncut film for RiffTrax, restoring the missing scenes with Neville Brand.
Not to be confused with the cheesy 1980's Angel films, which included similarly titled sequels as Avenging Angel, Angel III: The Final Chapter and Angel 4: Undercover. Also not to be confused with Charlie's Angels, although that was almost certainly the filmmakers' intent.
The movie provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Seven of them, to be precise.
- Adaptation Induced Plothole: The deletion of Neville Brand's character causes a number of plot holes to crop up - namely, why the female officer is part of the group, why the police never appear involved, and what the girls did with all the cocaine they snagged at the beach.note
- Amazon Brigade: Well, yes. It's the entire crux of the film. Terry in particular towers over everyone.
- Brick Joke: One guy at the drug-manufacturing compound goes into the outhouse shortly before the Angels' raid, and emerges only after it's all over.
- Character Shilling: Arthur Godfrey's sole purpose in the film seems to be exclaiming how awesome Michelle is as a performer and a person.
- Cool Car: The tricked out black SUV including a cannon.
- Creator Cameo: Writer/director Greydon Clark makes a cameo as the director of Terry's film shoot.
- Da Chief: Miller, who is Elaine's gruff superior at the police station. He doesn't approve of the Angels' hijinks or Elaine's involvement, but he eventually warms to the idea—when the Angels bring the captured drugs to his office while in their bathing suits.
- Dead Hat Shot: After the Waterfall Shower scene, the Angels force the mooks who tried to capture them to submerge themselves in the pond. One of the mooks is wearing a cowboy hat that floats on the surface after he goes under.
- Drugs Are Bad: The whole reason April comes up with her plan in the first place.
- Expospeak: A radio station recaps the events of the previous scenes. In the cuts without Neville Brand, it fills the plot hole about what happened to the drugs.
- Fair Cop: Elaine, who joins the group specifically to give them a tactical boost.
- Fanservice Extra: For about five seconds in one scene, we see a bikini-clad brunette floating in Burke's pool while eating a lollypop suggestively. And this is in a movie that's already pretty darn high in the fanservice department.
- Girls with Guns: ...and grenades, and katanas, and brass knuckles, and pepper spray, and weaponized vehicles, and...
- Groin Attack: Threatened, with a sword, to perp-sweat a drug dealer. "They're revoking his member-ship!"
- Honest John's Dealership / Sexist Used Car Salesman: Pat Buttram plays a folksy car dealer who sells the women a shoddy van. It's implied that he intended to take them for fools, under the idea that women don't know a bad automobile when they see one... the truth is they knew it was crap, but had a Wrench Wench on the team who intended to fix it.
- How We Got Here: The film inexplicably starts with the climax, after which one of the Angels explains the setup to the audience in a flashback that lasts for a good half of the movie!
- Huddle Shot: It's boob-tastic, complete with an "A, B, C" plan culminating in "H, drive the Hell out of there!"
- Hypocritical Humor: During each and every Rummage Fail moment, April brags about how well organized she is. Even as she is dumping her overstuffed purse onto the ground.
- Indy Ploy: April's initial plan to destroy the narcotics processing plant, before Elaine got involved, was basically to just wing it and make things up on the fly.
- In Medias Res: The film's recut with the first half of the raid on the processing plant as an Action Prologue, then showing most of the first few acts as a flashback before returning to the rest of the raid.
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Keiko has a Japanese name and wields a katana, but is introduced as being from Vietnam. Technically it's possible, but given the general intelligence level of this movie as a whole, it seems slipshod at best. What makes it better is that the actress was neither Japanese NOR Vietnamese — she's Chinese.
- Jumped at the Call: Trish, much to the dismay of the other girls who think she's too young.
- Lecherous Licking: The women resort to this on a mook to get him to let down his guard, with two girls on either side licking his ears.
- Lingerie Scene: A scene after the ladies destroy the drug compound has them peeling down to their underwear and going for a dip in a lake in the woods. As Crow puts it, "Ladies and gentleman, the reason this movie was made."
- Lock-and-Load Montage: Used rather stylishly in the sequence (missing from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 cut) where they put the van together.
- The Magnificent Seven Samurai: A team of seven 'specialists' recruited to take down the drug cartel.
- Male Gaze: Constantly. For example, early in the movie, we get a shot straight up a ladder as Michelle is climbing it, making her butt the central focus of the frame.Crow: Hey, you're giving away the plot!
- Market-Based Title: The movie was originally titled Seven From Heaven, but has also gone by Angels' Brigade and the more well-known Angels Revenge, for whatever reason.Crow: You know, this is so timely, because angels are real, real popular right now.
- Missing Steps Plan: The first thing Elaine tells the other Angels is that, while dropping a homemade bomb into a drug plant is a nice idea, it's not a plan.
- The Mockbuster: Being a product of the latter part of The '70s, about fetching young female crimefighters, it counts as one for Charlie's Angels, made more explicit with use of the word "angels" when it was retitled.
- Navel-Deep Neckline: Featuring deeply decolletaged skin-tight jumpsuits.
- Only a Flesh Wound:
- Trish; while she's clearly affected by being shot, she is shown caring more about whether her actions earn her a spot among the Angels.
- Subverted during the final showdown at the villa, when Keiko is shot in the arm. Although she still manages to kill the henchman who has injured her, she is so overwhelmed by the pain that she can't walk straight and stumbles to the ground with a scream. In later scenes, she has to be supported by another heroine. When the girls are comforting Trish in the final scene, she is seen panting loudly in obvious suffering.
- Poorly-Disguised Pilot: It's fairly obvious, especially with the V-Formation Team Shot and the "7" transition bumper. Someone was trying to get this movie made into a series.
- Re-Cut: The original version lacked the How We Got Here opening.
- Reckless Gun Usage:
- Trish isn't prepared for either the gun recoil or report, then forgets she has a loaded weapon and fires at the ground near the others' feet. Acknowledged by the characters as Elaine says she'll teach Trish proper use of a handgun. Elaine herself briefly points the loaded weapon at the other women when she says she'll train Trish.
- Mostly averted with the adults, who are implied to have picked it up rather quickly — even the ditzy model.
- Regional Riff: Keiko is introduced with a stereotypical Chinese musical intro.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: The Angels steal weapons and ammo from a right-wing militia in order to wage their war on the drug cartel.
- Rummage Fail: April can never find her map of the compound in her purse.
- Running Gag:
- The aforementioned Rummage Fail.
- And Trish complaining that she never gets to participate in missions.
- Sassy Black Woman: Terry, especially during her SUV refit.
- Scary Black Man: Terry, the stuntwoman (especially when she's helping con Jim Backus' militia group).
- The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: Especially egregious when they're dressed in bikinis on a ridiculously cold, foggy day on a deserted beach. To the film's credit, it acknowledges the scenario is ridiculous, but they continue on, saying things like "Let's have some fun in the fog!"
- Snooping Little Kid: Trish. Lampshaded by her teacher.
- Spy Catsuit: Worn by the team during the raid on the compound and in the V-Formation Team Shot behind the closing credits.
- Stock Sound Effects: Oddly, they chose to use cartoony sounds in the fight scenes.
- The Strategist: Elaine, the policewoman, who irons out the details of the raid on the compound as soon as she arrives.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Trish: she gets just a little too excited at Sticks' unwanted brisnote , she votes to kill Sticks (She's shown holding her empty round right after the vote), she latches onto a drug dealer's car in order to track him, and she fatally shoots Burke at the end. However, the trope is slightly averted when she learns how to shoot a gun: she fires it inelegantly, then runs off crying and embarrassed.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Averted; the first scene is the Angels reciting a quick summary of their plan to attack the cartel's compound (which Elaine comes up with later in the filmnote ), and besides some additional security, it proceeds perfectly.
- Waterfall Shower: The Angels enjoy one in the woods after blowing up the drug processing compound.
- Weaponized Car: Terry made a few modifications, including a cannon and a reinforced bumper making the SUV effectively a battering ram.