As a fan of popular YouTube channel Red Letter Media (especially their hilarious Best of the Worst series), I was already well aware of Andy Sidaris and his nonsensical plots, B-Movie antics, and his unique ability to throw boobs into just about every scene in a film. However, I had never been able to watch one of his films until Mill Creek Entertainment recently released two of them on Blu-ray (the other film released was Hard Ticket to Hawaii which will be reviewed very soon on this blog). They gave me a chance to review both of them and as a fan of B-movies, I of course jumped at the chance. Malibu Express, the first of the two films I watched, isn’t quite a B-movie classic but it does come really close. It doesn’t make the Mount Rushmore of B-movies (it isn’t as amazing as classics like The Room) but I would still recommend it for viewers who love to riff on bad movies.
Note: This review and the rating Malibu Express received are based on it being a B-movie and not what it would deserve if it was being reviewed as a “serious” film. If you aren’t into B-movies, you can safely skip this film as it is a terrible movie that is only worth watching because it’s so bad it’s good. If Malibu Express was being reviewed for its quality (not its unintentional hilarity), it would have received a 1/5. As a B-movie though, it is a much better film for those interested in the genre.
The “plot” of Malibu Express (if you can even call it that) involves the world’s worst P.I. (who at one point flatly admits he’s never hit a moving target in his life) investigating a case involving someone selling computer technology to the Russians. The lead takes him to the house of a very rich family, almost all of whom are being blackmailed by an ex-con. In reality, the film is mostly just an excuse for action scenes and boobs, lots and lots of boobs. The P.I. (Cody Abilene who is played by Darby Hinton) spends more time investigating the bodies of multiple women than actually doing his job. Malibu Express is borderline soft-core porn, however I do feel like there is enough exposition and actual movie material to just barely escape that label.
Honestly, I could have completely skipped the plot summary paragraph of this review as it really doesn’t matter. Even though the plot is about stolen computer technology, it could have been about a computer taking over the world and it would have made just about as much sense. After the first five minutes, there isn’t even a computer in the film. It’s an Andy Sidaris film, the plot doesn’t matter. The plot is sacrificed for “plot” (boobs), action scenes, and cheesy B-movie antics. If you want a story that makes any sense at all, stay far, far away from Malibu Express (and Andy Sidaris films in general). To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what happened.
While I am a fan of B-movies, I do generally prefer more family-friendly (or at least PG-13 or light R) ones. I knew there would be a lot of “T&A” in this film and even though I don’t watch B-movies for that I was willing to look past it for the other hilarious antics Malibu Express would provide. And provide it did. Between Cody’s incompetence, his “dear diary…” voiceovers (including such gems as “I stopped by the store for a peanut brittle candy bar”), a gunfight that wouldn’t really be that out of place in Looney Tunes, the women of the film subscribing to the theory that whenever you have a problem all you need to do to solve it is to flash your boobs at it, and the “YAHHHHHHHH” guy and his meathead sidekicks there is plenty to mock in Malibu Express. Throw in an editor (surprisingly one of the few jobs Sidaris delegated) who doesn’t understand how a film is constructed (the film is full of random two second scenes strewn all over the place and plenty of scenes that any decent editor would have cut on day one) and you’ve got a recipe for B-movie success.
Even though I found plenty to laugh at Malibu Express, I don’t think I would quite call it a B-movie classic. It is definitely a good B-movie and one I think all connoisseurs of the genre should watch (as long as you don’t mind the large amounts of nudity), but it does come up lacking in a few areas. First of all, the film starts off really slowly with little to no humor in the first half hour or so. Also, a lot of the scenes don’t work even for those watching it for B-movie purposes. Of note are the bizarre Buffington family scenes. I’m a fan of random, pointless humor but these hillbillies were surprisingly just annoying to me. They are just a short diversion (they appear in just three very short scenes) but there are plenty of other scenes like this that lack the unintentional hilarity I’m looking for (as these scenes are just flat out bad). Also of note, while I personally don’t fault films from the past for using language or scenes that wouldn’t be “PC” nowadays (I’m willing to accept them as a product of their time), there is a lot of content that wouldn’t fly today. From gay epitaphs and offensive jokes to an actual rape, there are a lot of uncomfortable scenes to sit through in this film. Thankfully, the sheer hilarity of the other scenes more than make up for these issues and uncomfortable scenes.
For those more into the “T&A” portion of the film than I was, let’s just say you’ll be impressed. There’s something here for everyone (although for women there’s only a few scenes with male butts in them and its also a rule that the men have to take off their shirts to fight) and the film rarely goes more than five minutes without showing some skin. Even in scenes where the women don’t get naked, they are wearing such skin tight clothing that you can see everything anyway. If the word “tit” is even uttered in a completely unrelated phrase, the women of this film (mostly Playboy playmates) will take their shirts off. We can’t even have an action scene (a race car being chased by a helicopter) without gratuitous nudity. Half of the characters of this film only exist to show off some more boobs. Malibu Express got an R rating but I’m guessing that was received by the skin of its teeth as this is very close to being soft-core porn.
This release is the Blu-ray debut for Malibu Express. Keep in mind that the film was very low-budget for its time and it is now almost 35 years old, so you really shouldn’t be expecting pristine video quality on a release like this. The back of the box does mention that the film was given a 4K widescreen restoration for this release. I’m kind of on the fence with my reaction to the video quality on this release. On one hand, it is quite decent considering the age of the film. On the other hand, it is very grainy (which I know some people actually like) and some of the scenes aren’t as clear as you would like from a Blu-ray. While I don’t own the DVD release of Malibu Express, I’m guessing the upgrade is pretty significant. Basically, if you are a fan of the film I’m sure the improvement is enough to make it worth upgrading your DVD. Otherwise, you can purchase this film (and Hard Ticket to Hawaii along with ten other films) on DVD in a much older Mill Creek Entertainment release called “Girls, Guns and G-Strings: The Andy Sidaris Collection” if you don’t care about the upgrade in video quality.
I wouldn’t say Malibu Express comes loaded with bonus features but it does actually include some interesting ones. Along with the typical audio commentary and trailers (for this film and several other Andy Sidaris movies), this release of Malibu Express also comes with an introduction by Sidaris and a behind-the-scenes featurette. The featurette is over forty minutes long and features several important scenes and how they were made (note: this feature is in 480i, not high-definition). The behind-the-scenes featurette is easily the highlight of these extras and something I would actually recommend watching. I’ve never really been an audio commentary fan, the introduction is very short (under two minutes long), and trailers can likely be viewed online. However, all three are still nice additions that I’m glad to see included. They just pale in comparison to the behind-the-scenes featurette which is actually quite interesting to watch.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed watching Malibu Express. I don’t think I would quite call it a B-movie classic but it is absolutely a great one that should be watched by most fans of the genre. The plot is ridiculously stupid, there are plenty of fun scenes to mock, and lots and lots of quality nudity. Recommended, but only for B-movie fans of course.
Malibu Express was released on Blu-ray on April 16, 2019.
Buy Malibu Express on Amazon: Blu-ray
We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of Malibu Express used for this review. Other than receiving the review copy we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the review copy had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.