Thursday, November 14, 2013

Seven Heaven!

Seven  (Melvin Simon Productions, 1979)

Directed by Andy Sidaris

Produced by Andy Sidaris and Melvin Simon

Written by Robert Baird and William Driskill
Story by Andy Sidaris

My folks got cable and Showtime for us in late 1979. Wow! What an incredible thing this new cable thing was! Crystal clear picture (as long as not a drop of rain was falling between you and the cable company) with 15 or 20 channels – and then Showtime, with its recent theatrical movies and some older catalog titles filling out their schedule, which I think ran 24 hours a day – a rarity for a television channel in those days. And all of this for the princely sum of $15 (!) a month.

Showtime had a regular “department” called Showtime After Dark on Friday nights at 9pm (Central time) that showed what I now call genre movies – in this case exploitation action and horror movies. So my Friday night usually consisted of The Dukes of Hazzard at 7pm (Central time) then whatever 8-9, then the Showtime After Dark movie at 9. One night they showed a movie called Seven – and what a time I had with that movie!

In Hawaii, crime and corruption have run rampant, and an organization (aka mob; syndicate) run by seven top crimelords is about to put the final squeeze on law enforcement in the 50th state – and when they finish, Hawaii will be theirs to ransack at will. They start off by assassinating the Hawaiian state senator (Terry Kiser - Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood) who has been planning a taskforce to combat the criminal empire – and right off the bat your well-honed movie expectations get knocked into a cocked hat – because in every other movie ever made – when Terry Kiser shows up playing a state senator or other official – he’s going to be around for the whole movie and turn out to be a weaselly traitor in the final reels.

Look at Terry Kiser playing a good guy! Who'da thunk?

Then another law enforcement official is killed – and the US government decides it’s time to retaliate. Using one of those newfangled “computers” to find the agent best suited to the job – the agency honcho is less than thrilled when the machine spits out the name Sevano (William Smith - Any Which Way You Can) – feeling he’s only a smidgen better than the criminals they want stopped. But he gives in, and he meets with Sevano and lays out the job: all seven crimelords are to be terminated with extreme prejudice – using whatever means, equipment, or personnel Sevano deems necessary.

Much like Dan Briggs and Jim Phelps on Mission: Impossible, Sevano concocts a daring and outrageous plan – first he recruits six agents.

Alexa (Barbara Leigh - Terminal Island) – beautiful to look at, deadly to know.

Kinsella (Art Metrano - Police Academy 3: Back in Training) – a stand up comic whose jokes can kill you.

TK (Christopher Joy - Darktown Strutters) – a race car driver who is “super fly” at giving people the “shaft.”

The Cowboy (Guich Koock - TV's Carter Country) – would-be land developer and crack pistol shot.

Ed Parker – the world famous kenpo legend plays himself – and he’s ready to kill on command.

The Professor (Richard LePore - In Harm's Way) – a genius whose sense of humor is as wicked as his methods of dealing death from afar.

Susan Kiger...*sigh*

Sevano also recruits some assistants from the agency – like Jackie (Susan Kiger - H.O.T.S.) a luscious blonde vixen ready to provide a distraction at the precise moment needed.

BAM! Distracted!

Next, he assigns each of the agents (and himself) one of the crimelords to kill. But it’s not going to be as easy as just pulling a trigger – these are seven of the most dangerous men alive – and each is surrounded by a small army of guards. And to top it off – they can’t spread the kills out, waiting for convenient moments. If they kill one and the other six mob bosses hear about it – they’ll circle the wagons, go to ground, and be impossible to set up as a target. So, all of the assassinations have to occur within the same half hour on the same day – so no one has time to spread the word to any of the others. Can even Sevano’s Seven pull it off?

If I die and go to heaven - I hope it's an Andy Sidaris movie.

I love this movie. Some people complain because the setup and recruitment take up what they feel is too much of the screen time – but I think it’s all part of the fun. For his third movie (after his documentary The Racing Scene and Stacey) Andy Sidaris here provides the story and directs for other producers – and continues to perfect the blueprint for the Sidaris style of T+A action flick. This film and Stacey are orphans, not part of the Big Twelve or owned by Malibu Bay.

I’m not sure if the producers interfered in Andy’s process – because the end results have a very Sidaris feel to them. On the other hand, this was also the last time Andy did his thing for other producers – after this everything was done “in-house” with Arlene jumping in to the producer’s seat with Andy.

It's fun to look up old friends.

But this is just a cool movie. It’s all played with tongue in cheek – a little over the top, with a wink at the audience – perfection for this kind of movie, which can be deadly if it takes itself too seriously. The bulk of the movie takes place in Hawaii – and the islands are presented as an exotic and mysterious world unto themselves – which they kind of were back then. The characters are all fun and played well by the actors, some of whom are obviously a little more polished than others. On the good guy side Smith is his usual quiet cool; Koock is funny as his stock good ol’ boy; and LePore steals every scene he’s in. On the bad guy side you’ve got standouts like Martin Kove; Reggie Nalder; and Lennie Montana – the infamous Luca Brazi from The Godfather. The action is plentiful, and beautifully handled by a stunt team up to the game. You also get several eyefuls of nudity, all most welcome, especially so when it’s Susan Kiger, a sun drenched goddess in or out of her clothes.

All in all, this is and always shall be one of my favorite down and dirty old school action flicks. Sadly, it’s nearly impossible to find, as the rights owners have left it in oblivion other than a VHS release in the 80’s as a part of the Sybil Danning Adventure Video line. I would kill for a fully stocked remastered Blu-Ray edition, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards. If you can track this one down, but all means do. If you can’t, you are always welcome to come by my place and check out my copy – I’ll watch this one with anyone anytime!

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At roughly 1:10:07 one of the bad guys is tired of sitting in a car taking a gasoline shower.

Eye Candy ?

Considering every picture in this post features her - was there any doubt in your mind that Susan Kiger was in?

Welcome to the list, Ms. Kiger!

Buddha Man Sez:

"Seven is a ten!"

Thank you sir! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Now that's what I call a movie Craig! Plot was weak, but the girls are strong.

    1. I might differ with you that the plot was weak - but we are in total harmony that the girls are strong!