Awfully Good: Hard Ticket to Hawaii

Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987)

Director: Andy Sidaris
Stars: Ronn Moss, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton

A group of buxom secret agents must take down drug dealers, diamond smugglers, and a carcinogenic snake.

The name Andy Sidaris may not have the same recognition as more famous B-movie auteurs like Roger Corman or Lloyd Kaufman, but Sidaris' run of ridiculous and raunchy flicks in the 80s and 90s definitely earns him a spot on the list. Sidaris started as an Emmy-winning sports broadcaster and found fame in his shameless tendency to focus the camera on cheerleaders and female members of the crowd. Since the American dream is alive and well, the trendsetting filmmaker was able to parlay this brief popularity in to a full fledged cinematic universe that he later dubbed his "Bullets, Bombs and Babes" series, a string of low-budget action movies all set in Hawaii and all starring Playboy and Penthouse models. Films like SAVAGE BEACH, MALIBU EXPRESS, FIT TO KILL and perhaps his most famous creative endeavor—HARD TICKET TO HAWAII.


Like most of Sidaris' movies, HARD TICKET TO HAWAII is light on actual plot, although not for lack of trying. The filmmaker shoves so much potential story in to 90 minutes and then proceeds to completely ignore it in favor of things he finds more interesting (read: BOOBS). In no particular order, this movie features a group of agents (the specific agency is never named) trying to take down a drug cartel who killed some local cops, two women being chased by thieves who use remote control helicopters to smuggle stolen diamonds, a rookie sports broadcaster trying to get his big break, multiple romantic relationships, a kidnapping and rescue, and much more. None of these subplots are ever fleshed out or arranged in any kind of discernible order, although to be fair that's not really a requirement to enjoy what this movie has to offer.

The Wallace Shawn Fan Club could never get enough.

The most memorable part of the story, however, has to go down as one of the more baffling subplots ever conceived: a cancer-causing snake. Early in the movie, two busty cargo pilots/secret agents are transporting a giant python to be released at a nature preserve. Through a clerical error though, instead of a normal python, the pilots are actually carrying a giant pissed-off python contaminated with radiation that bites people and transmits carcinogens in to their bodies, giving them quick and deadly cancer. (If this description raises some questions, you can be assured that HARD TICKET TO HAWAII does not answer any of them.) Of course the snake escapes once the plane lands and proceeds to wreak havoc on the island while still remaining completely separate from the rest of the plot, as if they finished shooting the movie and realized they needed to add another 10 minutes. The snake just pops up every once in a while, kills someone, and then disappears. This is repeated until the end when a man on a motorcycle drives through a house and blows it up with a bazooka. (More on this later.)

And that would be the last time Cheryl ate Indian food.

If the above plot description sounds like a thinly-veiled excuse for some cheap thrills and nudity, then you would be correct. HARD TICKET TO HAWAII is the kind of movie you'd find on HBO or Cinemax late at night when you were a kid. Sexual innuendo runs rampant and there's always random shots of women hanging out topless or changing clothes for no reason. (Well, aside from the obvious reason.) At one point two women are attacked by men with machine guns and narrowly escape by plane. Their natural response? "What just happened? We better go to the jacuzzi to talk about it while naked."

Even the softcore sex scenes are more goofy than titillating, especially thanks to the dialogue. Here are a couple of painful examples:

Woman: "You can't control my life."
Man: "I don't want to control your life. What I want to do is suck the polish off your toes."

Woman: [looks at him lovingly after sex] "So tell me, what do you feel?"
Man: [looks at her body] "One man's dream is another man's lunch."
Woman: "You son of a bitch."

Despite what his wife said, Tom was beginning to think that size might actually matter.

So far we've only scratched the surface of what makes HARD TICKET TO HAWAII so special, but it's really the culmination of so many memorable moments:

  • Two of the heroes are driving down the highway in their jeep when they spot a teenager doing a handstand on a skateboard. As they get closer, the skateboarder starts to chase them…now armed with a shotgun and (for some reason) a blowup doll. Not only do the good guys proceed to run him over with their car, they also take out a bazooka and blow him up. And then for good measure, they blow up his blow-up doll too.

  • When someone starts shooting at her, a woman pulls out a throwing star and hits him in the chest. Instead of running away from the gunfire, she proceeds to run up to the guy and pull the throwing star out of his torso because, dammit, those things are expensive.

  • The fight choreography is pretty laughable throughout, but there's one amazing fight where someone grabs a bad guy from behind and then yells out, "And then you die!" before unconvincingly breaking his neck.

  • As one of the heroes rescues his kidnapped girlfriend, he finds her bound and gag, and stops to crack a joke about her being in to kinky sex ("I'll go get the midget and the whips!") instead of immediately untying her.

  • Not only does the movie feature posters and discussion of his previous films, but Andy Sidaris also appears in a truly bizarre cameo as a sleazy TV director who "practically raped" one of the main characters the night before.

Behold: The world's most deadly and totally tubular assassin.

  • Instead of just shooting the single henchman guarding the drug cartel's compound, one of the agents has a stakeout and sees that said henchman likes to play Frisbee. So he builds a custom Frisbee with very visible razor blades on the outside. He then goes up to the henchman and engages in a friendly game of toss before switching out the Frisbee of Death, which he throws and violently murders him with. Again, he could've just walked up and shot him.

  • In the final battle, while everyone else is in a tricked out Jeep, one of the agents flies a hang glider to the drug dealer's compound instead. Brilliant move choosing a method of transportation that can be thrown off by a slight breeze.

  • Just as a woman goes to flush, Cancer Snake bursts forth from the toilet in a final blaze of carcinogenic glory. The python is about to kill its prey when her boyfriend, somehow sensing she was in great danger even though he had no prior knowledge of the snake, drives his motorcycle through her living room wall and shoots the python with his trusty bazooka. The most amazing part of this is the rocket launcher somehow only blows up the snake's head without doing any other damage to her house.

  • The movie ends with the "good guys" deciding to keep the stolen diamonds for themselves instead of turning them in to the authorities.

In summation, HARD TICKET TO HAWAII is definitely worth your time.

Terrible sexual innuendo, racist and sexist dialogue, and so much more.

The best action and kills, loud sex and random snake attacks.

Yes, lots, all of the time.

Like this movie? Buy the entire Andy Sidaris collection here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • Someone says an eye-rolling joke or one-liner
  • Someone fires a bazooka
  • James Bond is mentioned
  • The snake kills someone
  • Something is racist or offensive
Double shot if:
  • A woman gets topless within a minute of her character being introduced

Thanks to Stefen and J. Shaw for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: JoBlo.com



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