Color, 1989, 84 mins. 58 secs.
Directed by Worth Keeter
Starring Sybil Danning, Wings Hauser, Henry Darrow, Lenore Kasdorf, Robert Hanley, Van Quattro
Scorpion Relasing (Blu-ray) (US RA HD) / WS (1.85:1)
After spending years cultivating a fan following as a buxom star in numerous drive-in films, Sybil Danning started to reinvent herself as an action icon both in films (like 1984's Jungle Warriors and The Panther Squad) and as the host of the popular Sybil Danning's Adventure Video line of VHS releases for U.S.A. Home Video. Danning managed to channel that action icon status into her last theatrical starring vehicle to date, L.A. Bounty, a colorful and enjoyable feast of bullets, screeching tires, and music video-friendly lighting pairing her up with a scenery-chomping Wings Hauser. Danning also devised the story and co-produced the film, which was directed by onetime Earl Owensby collaborator Worth Keeter who also brought you the 3-D antics of Rottweiler and Tales of the Third Dimension as well as the pulpy pairing of The Order of the Black Eagle and Unmasking the Idol.
Following a nighttime fundraiser, L.A. mayoral candidate Mike Rhodes (Hanley) and his wife, Kelly (Kasdorf), have their home invaded by a quartet of gun-toting assailants in ski masks. Mike ends up being kidnapped and Kelly is nearly killed, but she's saved by the sudden intervention of bounty hunter Ruger (Danning) who plugs bloody holes in two of the evildoers. Ruger has been hot on the trail of Cavanaugh (Hauser), a criminal mastermind and amateur painter-philosopher who uses his local store, Exotic Imports, as a cover for drug and weapon smuggling but has more ambitious plans in store for his new captive. The fact that Cavanaugh was responsible for torturing and killing Ruger's partner back when she was a cop has left her thirsty for payback, so she snatches up Kelly and puts into motion a plan to corner her target once and for all.
Fans of Danning and Hauser will get more than their fill here with the former going way against type in a role that quickly establishes her as a total badass, not sexualized at all and instead letting her chase and blast away at the bad guys with the best of them. Hauser on the other hand gets to run wild as a villain who mistreats his henchmen as badly as his enemies, at least when he isn't busy wildly thrashing paint across a canvas and pontificating about the nature of God and evil. The film doesn't skimp on the action scene either, including a lively parking garage pursuit and a lengthy, nicely shot warehouse showdown (that old standby of budget-conscious action movies) that also goes wild with the stylized lighting and outrageous death scenes (including Danning plowing one unlucky guy with a forklift).
Initially released on VHS by IVE, L.A. Bounty eventually passed over to MGM who kept it in regular rotation for a few months on their MGM HD channel circa 2015. It took a while, but the film finally went back into circulation as a Blu-ray release from Scorpion Releasing available via Ronin Flix. As you'd expect, it's a revelation compared to the fuzzy VHS edition and also surpasses the overly noise reduced broadcast version, looking very crisp and colorful here with no significant issues to report. The DTS-HD MA English 2.0 mono track is also in solid condition (though not Ultra Stereo, which the broadcast version was) and features optional English SDH subtitles. No supplements are included, but you do get bonus trailers are also included for Blind Rage, Sharks' Treasure, Body and Soul, The Delta Force, and P.O.W. The Escape.
Reviewed on November 26, 2020