Hollywood Vice Squad (1986)

Penelope Spheeris made Wayne’s World, which is what so many know her for. Me, I remember when she made the three The Decline of Western Civilization movies. I would also like to forget that she made The Beverly Hillbillies and The Little Rascals.

She also made this movie about a vice squad that battles drug dealers and pornographers. In fact, three different teams of Hollywood Vice Squad officers work on three separate cases which include mob-run betting parlor, a bondage porn director and an old gangster who runs a teenage prostitution ring. Yes, there’s something here for the whole family.

Officers Chang (Evan C. Kim, Loo from The Kentucky Fried Movie) and Stevens (Joey Travolta) are two of the cops and their game is to act like Chang is a tourist. Things go too far when one of the girls ends up being a man with a knife, leading to a tense moment.

There’s also Officer Melton (Carris Fisher), who the boys — Jensen (Ronny Cox), Chavez and Miller — don’t trust to go after a BDSM director on her own.

Oh yeah — Pauline Stanton (Trish Van DeVere, the widow of George C. Scott) is looking for her daughter (Robin Wright), who has been kidnapped by James Walsh, owner of Pretty Girl Escorts. You know what I say: Never trust someone played by Frank Gorshin.

One of the other cops is played by Leon Isaac Kennedy, who was in all the Penitentiary movies as Martel “Too Sweet” Gordone. He should know something about vice, as he’s one of the first celebrities to have a sex tape leak, albeit one with his then-wife Jayne Kennedy.

Hard Boiled Haggerty is also in this, as he is in every movie that needed a bald henchman that Richard Moll had no interest in. He’s a former pro wrestler that shows up in more movies than you can imagine — everything from Paint Your Wagon to EarthquakeDeathsport and Rad.

Actually, I recognize so many people here. There’s Cec Verrell from Hell Comes to Frogtown. Beau Starr — yes, Sheriff Ben Meeker — is here. Julius Harris — Gravedigger from Darkman and Tee Hee Johnson from Live and Let Die is about the place. And Sandra Crisp, who was also known as Goddess Bunny, a drag queen star who survived a horrifying foster family and polio.

Kenneth Peters also wrote Vice Squad. No relation and no Wings Hauser.

This movie is, charitably, a mess. Fisher realized that and used it as the inspiration for the movie within her book Postcards from the Edge. But hey — you may like it. Check it out on Amazon Prime or Tubi.

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