Hard Ticket to Hawaii
Released: March 1, 1987
Run Time: 96 minutes
Genre: Action, Adventure
Production: Malibu Bay Films
Ronn Moss as Rowdy Abilene
Dona Speir as Donna Hamilton
Hope Marie Carlton as Taryn
Harold Diamond as Jade
Rodrigo Obregón as Seth Romero
Cynthia Brimhall as Edy Stark
Patty Duffek as Pattycakes
Wolf Larson as J.J. Jackson
Lorien Green as Rosie
Rustam Branaman as Kimo
Andy Sidaris – Director
Andy Sidaris – Writer
Arlene Sidaris – Producer
Gary Stockdale – Original Music Composer
Howard Wexler – Director of Photography
Michael Haight – Editor
Sal Grasso – Production Design
Peter Munneke – Production Design
Synapsis: A man with a bazooka helps defend air-freighters Donna and Taryn against drug smugglers and a snake.
Beavis’s Movie Memories
Ah, yes… An Andy Sidaris film. For those of you lucky enough to have lived a full life during the video rental revolution of the 80’s and 90’s then you’ve probably seen a Sidaris film, whether you like it or not!
Before taking advantage of the 80’s movie producing direct-to-video hysteria, Andy Sidaris did some pretty respectable work on such shows as ABC’s Wide World of Sports. He also did TV directorial work on such shows as The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and The Gemini Man. Having made a couple of not-so-well-known movies in the late 70’s (Stacey and Seven), he really hit his stride in 1985 with Malibu Express. Hard Ticket To Hawaii is the second film in the Trinity of Schlock Sidaris series which also included Picasso Trigger. Anyhoo, we’re here to talk about Hard Ticket To Hawaii, so put on your parachute pants, dig out your Blockbuster Video card from your Velcro wallet, and let’s get ready to watch this gem!
In the opening scene, Rowdy and Donna climb out of the water and onto their boat, The Malibu Express. Donna says she is going to miss him when she moves to Molokai for some DEA gig while he stays behind in Honolulu. He doesn’t want her to go so they solve their problem like everyone else… By having sex.
Next we see two Molokai County Marshalls checking on some pot farms in the area. Which area? I have no idea. The older one is telling the younger one that when he retires he is going to have to pick up the slack. Uh-Oh’s, the older one announces he is retiring in a month, which according to 80’s plot requirements he will be meeting his demise very soon. They stumble upon a large group of men picking the pot plants and loading them on to a couple of trucks. The group is guarded by three men, one wearing reflective sunglasses (he will be relevant later). Seeing as how they are outnumbered, the two Marshalls high-tail it back to their boat to get reinforcements. As they run through the brush they become ensnared in a trap, hanging them upside down. They make an awful lot of noise which brings over the three guards. Shades shoots both of them as they hang upside down.
Thus ends the intro scene, which takes to one of the coolest title sequences in a direct-to-video movie (in my opinion). Instead of just text that scrolls on and off the screen we see wooden crates being loaded and unloaded, each with the name of the movie, the stars, and production team. It’s a pretty inventive way to show the credits. Andy could have taken the lazy way out and had someone insert text tiles in post, but he put a lot of effort into creating a title sequence that separates this movie from a lot of the other dreck out at the same time.
After the shipping label title sequence is done we see a worker drive a forklift dangerously close to a large crate that features the name of the Sound Editor… No wait, sorry, It’s a large crate holding a dangerous snake that was infected by dangerous toxins from cancer infected rats. The forklift arms get ensnared in the straps securing the crate and rips them off. A worker sees a blanket on the ground and throws it over a crate containing a small, tame snake meant for transport to a local zoo.
Cut to Donna and Taryn. Donna is some kind of ‘agent’ with an ‘agency’ that obviously has some VERY relaxed dress codes. Taryn rinse off under an outdoor shower and removes her top as Donna and her trade bards about Taryn’s upcoming testimony in some kind of case. Donna reminds her she got a pretty nice gig from Witness Protection. I guess Taryn poses as Donna’s partner so she can keep an eye on her until she testifies. Donna, though, is undercover posing as an air freight pilot with Molokai Cargo.
They get their orders from someone who I am assuming is the boss. They are transporting the snake as well as a newlywed couple to somewhere. Workers loading the plane accidentally grab the infected snake and not the tame one. They don’t see it because it is covered by the blanket. As they fly to their destination we are treated to some original 80’s sounding music aptly titled It’s A Hard Ticket To Hawaii. Sit back for a few minutes and enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian scenery.
Call me crazy, but the way the cockpit scenes were shot I’m convinced that Dona and Hope Marie were actually piloting the plane (to some degree). A lot of times in movies like this it’s painfully obvious that the people supposedly flying the plane aren’t anywhere near it, let alone piloting it, but this movie pulls it off.
Uh-oh. Whats this? It seems that the boss at the shipping company discovers the damaged shipping containers and sees that the small, tame snake meant for the zoo was left in the warehouse, while the large, dangerous snake was loaded onto the cargo plane the girls are piloting.
He frantically tries to reach them on the radio but they have since landed and are dropping the newlyweds off att their destination. The couple explains they want to be alone. The snake may have other ideas. Thankfully they are only there for a day. Donna reassures them they will be alone and that the girls’ home base is just over the hill.
Cut to Mr. Chang on his yacht offshore. He has a remote control helicopter that he uses to reach the shore. As it approaches, the girls see it and see it land right by them. As they inspect it, the door opens and she retrieves a small metal box. Suddenly two of the drug henchmen show up and start shooing at them. Donna sneaks the two metal case into her pants, which takes up about 90% of her pants. The girls give the two men a generous helping of what-for and run for their plane. By the time the two guys pick themselves up off the ground they see the plane take off overhead. They decide to head over to the helicopter but as they approach, it starts up and begins it’s journey back to the yacht without the henchmen having retrieved the metal box. This will be important later.
Wait, whats this? It seems that Donna dropped one of the the metal cases while running and it is on the ground in the grass after all.
When the girls land, Donna tells Taryn they need to stop and think about what just happened. Donna says they should go to the Jacuzzi because she does all her best thinking there. But first they have to put the snake into the hangar next to their house. Thankfully their house has plane parking because they are damn close to the house when they unload it.
Cut to Edy’s, a local bar with a slimy owner / manager named Ashley. HEY! It’s Andy in a cameo! The henchmen arrive to tell their boss, Mr. Romero, that someone beat them to the stuff and got away. They describe them as a ‘couple of broads’ who piloted a plane for Molokai Express. He is not happy and tells them that if brains were birdshit they’d have a clean cage.
In the hot-tub, Donna and Taryn are topless, of course. They decide to open the metal box and see what’s inside. It’s diamonds! They decide to take them to Rowdy because that would advance the plot.
Cut to two idiots on a boat practicing Karate. The Kung Foo skills look like they were choreographed by Bruce Lee…bowitz. The weird thing is that they insert their own sound effects like ‘swish’ and ‘poosh’ as they flail their appendages around. As they finish, the ‘Sushi man’ arrives. He delivers a take-out container to Rowdy who disassembles the sandwich to uncover the secret message. Wait… He’s the ‘Sushi Man’ but he delivers a sandwich?
Back at the girls’ house, we’re treated to a room filled with Sidaris movie posters (up to this point). There’s a poster of Malibu Express hanging on the wall. They insinuate that the man in the poster, Cody, doesn’t stay in contact with them much since he left the agency to become an actor. But wait, Taryn informs us that he and Rowdy are cousins, which I guess somehow ties the two movies together?!?!
Taryn asks that since they were cousins did they have a lot in common. She asks Donna because she’s apparently bean intimate with both. Taryn wants to know about Rowdy’s ‘stuff’. Donna says it’s great and that he ‘has four inches’. Taryn isn’t impressed until Donna tells her she measured from the ground up. Good Lord.
Taryn puts the box of diamonds in the freezer and is accosted by some random henchman. Donna tries using the phone but discovers it’s not working. She frantically searches for Taryn but another henchmen grabs her. They demand to know where the diamonds are but the girls fight them off for a bit. As they fight they knock the dangerous snake off the table and the case opens. The henchmen eventually find the diamonds and demand the girls find the other box. They leave when they hear gunshots from their accomplice guarding the outside who sees the snake and literally shits his pants and fires frantically at it with a revolver at 50 yards.
Donna offers chase outside and fires at them, hitting one. They escape, and Donna and Taryn discover the snake is missing. They hear the radio in the plane going off and finally hear Dixon tell them that the snake is dangerous. They go back into the house to secure it so the snake doesn’t get in.
Back at Edy’s, Donna and Taryn meet Edy, their contact? Boss? Agent? I don’t know who she s but the girls tell her they need to get in touch with Rowdy. Listening to their conversation is a (wo)man behind the bar. As the girls go to their boss / contact’s office, the mystery woman listens in on the phone call. Rowdy tells the girls that the diamonds might be connected to the murder of the soon to be retired Marshall and his partner earlier in the film. He tells them that he and Jade will be there the next day to help them out since the drug guys are surely still going to come after than.
All three girls leave. Oh wait, Taryn walks over to a table with some guy named Jimmy John she apparently knows and takes off with him to the beach where they have a love scene that lasts ten minutes. In the morning she gets a call from Donna who tells her they have work to do and to get back to the house since.
Rowdy and Jade arrive and drive toward the girls’ home. on the way they see a guy skateboarding down the hill. Rowdy observes that he “must be smoking some heavy doobies.” How much do doobies weigh? At the bottom of the hill, the skateboard rider’s friend is waiting to drive him back up the hill for another run. They pass Rowdy and XXX in the Jeep and head further towards the top of the hill.
At the top, Skater hops out and retrieves a sex doll and a shotgun. Okaaayyyy. As he heads down the hill and reaches the oncoming Jeep, he fires (the shotgun, not the sex doll). He hits Jade, who manages to stop the Jeep. He slams it in reverse and hits Skater so hard he flies into the air. But wait, there’s more. Rowdy then pulls out a bazooka and shoots him in mid-air. But wait, there’s even MORE more! The sex doll is left floating aimlessly in the air, so Rowdy decides to end it with another bazooka shot. Man, they got some pretty lax gun laws in Hawaii.
Back on the island home where the girls live, the honeymoon couple is on the beach taking pictures. He is attacked by the toxic snake and the scene ends.
Back at Edy’s, Rowdy calls Edy to tell her they had some trouble. She says she will be there in a bit to pick them up. (wo)man is listening in on the call. Sit back and relax as we’re treated to Cynthia Brimhall’s contractually obligated five minute nude scene where it takes her a REALLY long time to change some really skimpy clothing… But no one is complaining. Her top leaves plenty of fodder for fans of underboob.
(wo)man asks Rosie to pick Shim up. As (wo)man heads to the dressing room (like why would a bar have a dressing room?) he-she runs into Pattycakes who tells shim all about how exercise helps you body look better. After Pattycakes leaves, (wo)man takes off her clothes to reveal she’s a man. Michelle ((wo)man) is really Michael! This doesn’t matter so forget I said that. Michael climbs into a van with two others and they take chase. They catch up to Edy, pull her out of her car and into their van.
Back on the island, Donna and Taryn grab binoculars and a Super Beta-max camera to record some people on the beach playing Frisbee. Hey, wait! It’s the mirrored glasses guy from the beginning that shot the two Marshalls. Apparently he is guarding something. They see a helicopter land. Michael and his accomplices pull Edy out and turn her over to Seth, the lead drug guy under Mr. Chan.
The two girls soon figure out that one of the people pulling Edy out of the helicopter was Michelle ((wo)man). She could tell by the cigarette he had? At what, 400 yards! Okay.
The girls detour quickly to pick up the honeymooners but discover they have been torn up. Donna finds their camera and see the last photo taken. It’s a profile view of the snake!
Back at Eryn’s, Jimmy John interviews some pro football celebrities. This goes on unnecessarily long. It’s supposed to be a comedy bit but fails miserably. In walks Rowdy and Jade, looking for the girls. Finally the two girls and the two guys meet back at their house. Gee, wonder what’s going to happen?
Back at Seth’s hideout, he and the group are torturing Edy thinking she knows where the other box of diamonds are.
OK, now back to the house where Donna and Rowdy leave to inspect something. Taryn and Jade wait inside and clean the guns they will need for the final scene.
Back at Seth’s hideout, Rosie gets all oiled up in preparation for her turn to torture Edy. But before that happens we are taken back to the girls’ house where Donna takes Rowdy into the office. She shows him the video of the girl and the sunglasses guy playing Frisbee. Rowdy knows the sunglasses guy and tells her his name is Shades. Somehow he knows he’s the one that pulled the trigger on the two murdered Marshalls. How did he know this? There were no survivors.
They get bored with their mission, get undressed, and begin another love scene. This goes on for a long time.
Seth calls Mr. Chow who is not happy about the missing shipment. Seth explains there are agents all over the island. Mr. Chow tells him to kill them all.
Back in the house, Rowdy and Donna return from mild sex and join Jade and Taryn in assembling and cleaning the weapons. They wait until morning to hatch their plans to rescue Edy from the bad guys.
The next morning, Rowdy enters the beach on a surfboard near Shades. He waits until he sees the girl that plays Frisbee with him running along the beach. he joins her. As they approach Shades, he is suspicious. He challenges Rowdy who claims to be a fellow ‘thrower’. Shades demands a demonstration of his Frisbee ability to prove he’s legit. After Rowdy passes the test he sends the girl on her way. This gives Rowdy the opportunity to switch out the Frisbee for a super-secret James-Bond-ey Frisbee with razor blades on the outer ring. He throws it at Shades telling him, “This is for the Molokai cops!”
The blades rip through Shade’s fingers and continues well into his throat. This leaves him bleeding on the beach. Rowdy calls Donna to come on over. Donna arrives on a gyro-plane looking flying thing while Jade and Taryn arrive in a Jeep. Jade tells them Donna is going to fly over and distract them by dropping ‘noise bombs’, whatever those are.
As the agents enter the house, Jade spots some Asian guy and announces that he must fight him. I guess it’s because the guy is Asian so he obviously knows Karate like Jade does (except better I’m sure). The henchman breaks Jade’s beaded bracelet or something. Jade is REALLY pissed about his beads. He puts on claws and proceeds to rip the living shit out of the henchman’s shirt, eventually killing him.
Rosie escapes on a helicopter, or so she thinks. Donna has the bazooka and proceeds to destroy it as it takes off. Here’s another great example of the magic of this movie. If you watch in slo-mo you see that something was fired at the real helicopter. How did they get away with that? How did it not damage the helicopter in real life? Anyhoo, it blows up and all the good guys are safe.
Since their Jeep was destroyed in the firefight, the team drive the bad guys’ van back to town since they won’t be needing it anymore. On the way back they realize that none of them got the key bad guy, Seth. Rowdy heads back on a motorcycle that was thankfully left inside the van.
But before that we see Donna back at the house. There’s an intruder inside… I wonder who that could b… SETH! He grabs her and demands the diamonds. She hides in a closet and loads a spear gun while he takes longer than needed to break through the thin balsa wood closet door. Finally he enters and she shoots him in the chest. All over, right? Nope.
As she heads to the kitchen we see Seth slowly get up, a-la Michael Myers. She gets an ice cube from the refrigerator and is once again attacked by Seth, now brandishing a knife. She manages to stab him in the gut, which goes along nicely with his spear through the chest. She retreats to the bathroom and collapses next to the toilet. Safe now, right? WRONG!
As she flushes a Kleenex down the toilet, the snake pops out! Then, wouldn’t you know it, Seth gets back up AGAIN! When will the madness end! Seth gets bitten by the snake and finally dies (I think). The snake slowly approaches Donna. Just then Rowdy drives the motorcycle crashing through the door, jumps off, and shoots the snake with… You guessed it, the bazooka!
The next day it seems the fun ain’t over yet. The team has one more thing to do. Donna puts on brass knuckles and covers them with tape. The team arrives in front of Mr. Chang’s office. Rowdy and Donna announce they must take care of this themselves.
They break in to Mr. Chang’s office and proceed to beat the shit out of his bodyguard. Mr. Chang attempts to throw a sword at them, but they shoot him first and he falls out the window, landing a good number of stories below right in front of the rest of the gang. I’m not sure Mr. Chang was in the same room as Donna and Rowdy when they filmed this. They’re never shown together they just exchange clumsy dialog in back-and-forth shots.
NOW everything is alright… Right? Yes, it is. They all agree to take a cruise on the Malibu Express. In the closing shots we see more cargo box credits along with a couple seconds of key scenes in between (mostly nude scenes). And with that we can now rest comfortably knowing we survived this treasure from a by-gone era.
Overall I’d give it 4 snarks. It’s a very riffable movie but because of the over-the-top nudity it may not be suitable for all. Look for other reviews from this line of movies here.
Oh. I think we have to stop the Six Degrees Of Separation MST3K Version because like many B-Movie’s this one only requires one degree. Andy Sidaris directed an episode of the TV series The Gemini Man, which of course spliced two episodes together to make the movie Riding With Death, featured on MST3K.