Pirates, Prisons and Playmates – Rediscovering ‘The Muthers’ (Philippines 1976 – 83 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - April 30, 2015
Pirates, Prisons and Playmates – Rediscovering ‘The Muthers’ (Philippines 1976 – 83 mins)

A decent low-budget effort from the grimy Seventies, the Filipino frolic ‘The Muthers’ is a fun watch for the exploitation fan. Yes it’s sloppy in places and has some dodgy acting, but the one-time-only casting of its three attractive leading ladies sets this one apart from the countless others.

A gang of modern-day pirates led by the plucky Kelly (Jeannie Bell) and serious-looking Anggie (Rosanne Katon) infiltrate an isolated island slammer in order to rescue Kelly’s kidnapped sister. With both Kelly and Anggie inside the prison, they have to contend with lustful wardens and lecherous guards before learning that her sister has actually been murdered. Setting a revolt in place, Kelly, Anggie and their two buddies; Serena (Jayne Kennedy) and the resourceful Marcie (Trina Parks), escape into the jungle where they end up cornered by both prison guards and rival pirates.

What makes ‘The Muthers’ watchable is the enthusiasm from the female leads. Ex playboy playmate Jeannie Bell and future Playmate Rosanne Katon are both very enjoyable to watch. Bell gets to show off her ample charms, and Katon (with her blue eye-shadow always intact) looks suitably moody throughout. The statuesque Jayne Kennedy looks like she’s just got off the catwalk, and Trina Parks (Thumper in ‘Diamonds are Forever’ – 71) makes a decent action figure.

Prolific Producer/director Cirio H. Santiago had earlier shot the cult Blaxploitation favourite ‘TNT Jackson’ (’74) with Jeannie Bell, and also the enjoyable thriller ‘Cover Girl Models’ (’75) with Lindsay Bloom. The kung-Fu style fight scenes are unintentionally funny, with the stunt doubles doing unnecessary back flips before reverting back to the main actress finishing the bad guy off! There’s the obligatory shower scene of course, and the final machine-gun battle at sea with a rival pirate gang is great fun and features plenty of over the top explosions.

Although it’s not as exciting or accomplished as Jack Hill’s 1971 favourite ‘The Big Doll House’, ‘The Muthers’ is still a lively exploitation piece with plenty of action, beautiful locations, and a top trio of charismatic leading ladies.

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