Sharkey (future Comedian — as in, The Comedian — Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a Sunset Strip pimp who’s having a bad night. One of his “bitchez” (is that still how they spell it? For that matter, was it ever?) has up and left him for another “player,” another is on the verge of doing the same, and yet another is holding out on him. He’s losing respect on the streets, man, and if you ain’t got respect, you ain’t got nothin’.
To be fair, a lot of Sharkey’s problems are his own damn fault. He hasn’t got a very cool street name, unlike his chief competitors Silk and Slash, he doesn’t seem to run a very tight ship in general, and to top it all off he’s got a psychotic temper that often clouds his judgment and is proving to be detrimental to what little business sensibility he actually does have.
Still, he’s got Mickie (Head Of The Class alum Leslie Bega). She’s cute and she’s loyal. When she fled her abusive home life back in wherever-the-fuck-she’s-from with her mentally challenged brother, Robby (Jason Oliver), Sharkey rescued them from the streets and gave them a home, as long as she was willing to spread her legs for cash that she would promptly turn over to him. Problem is, Mickie’s doing such good business that some other pimps have taken notice and want her in their fold. She won’t budge, though, and they figure the only way to get her services back out on the open market again is to get Sharkey out of the picture, so they use Mickie to set him up. They tell her they just want to talk to her boss, she’s dumb enough to believe them, and she unwittingly lures him right into an ambush. Sharkey’s as resourceful as he is angry, though, and he manages to escape their clutches, whereupon he promptly vows revenge on Mickie for, as he sees it, setting him up, and now the chase is on as Mickie, slow-witted brother in tow, tries to escape the net being cast by her enraged apparently-now-former pimp.
If this, the plot for Roger Corman’s 1991 production Angel In Red (also released on video under the name Uncaged, as you no doubt can tell from the cover photo reproduced above) sounds at all familiar, that’s because it’s basically a complete do-over of his earlier 1985 flick, Streetwalkin’, only with the “action” transposed from Times Square to Sunset (actually, it’s most likely Corman’s former-lumber-yard-turned-studio standing in for Sunset), and that was basically a watered-down rehash of Vice Squad, only without the cops or the sheer, visceral nastiness.
As was the case with another Corman effort from 1991, Dead Space, which was a straight riff on his previous film Forbidden World, which was itself a low-budget rip-off of Alien, the law of diminishing returns certainly applies here. First-time director Lisa Hunt (working under the pseudonym of William Duprey, which probably clues you in on how proud she was of her work here) does a serviceable enough, if straightforward, job here, and none of the actors are too bad (Pamella D’Pella — I’m betting that’s not the name on her birth certificate — is especially fun as a foul-mouthed, big-haired fellow prostitute named Ros who tries her best (sort of) to protect the Mickie-n’-Robby duo), but still — you can only boil a roast down for so long before there’s no meat left on the bones, and we’ve just seen psycho-pimp-on-the-loose-and-out-for-revenge movies done so much better before. Let’s just say Morgan’s okay as Sharkey, but he’s no Wings Hauser and leave it at that, shall we?
Angel In Red is available paired with the far-superior Christina Applegate starring vehicle Streets as part of Shout! Factory’s “Roger Corman’s Cult Classics” DVD series. The supposedly-remastered picture is widescreen but looks kinda grainy throughout, the stereo sound is a little iffy but not too bad, and the only extra provided is the theatrical trailer. Streets is an undeniably great flick and the disc is well worth owning for it alone, but when it comes to this second feature, you’re better off taking a pass on this particular Angel and heading down to the next street corner to see who else is working tonight.