Produced, directed and co-written by David Garcia, SEX CRIMES starts out as a promising portrait of cryptofeminist rage, but quickly collapses into substandard action fare.
Rosanna (Maria Richwine) is a rising Los Angeles prosecutor who is brutally raped but keeps quiet about it. She's upset at the number of cases that are thrown out of court on technicalities, but when she is appointed to a judgeship, "the first Hispanic woman on the bench," as her associate Edward
(David Eisenstein) proclaims, she's even more tied to the letter of the law. Donning various disguises, Rosanna begins hunting down and executing these released hardened criminals, all of whom escaped charges of violence against women.
Detective Rick Massey (Jeffrey Osterhage) and his partners, Victor (Fernando Garzon) and Cynthia (Grace Morley), all tough undercover cops working in the LAPD's "unit of last resort with hardcore criminals," are on the trail of serial rapist/killer Palmer (Danny Trejo), who tape records his
torturing of his victims and leaves the tapes with the bodies as calling cards. They are a little distracted by the new skein of murders, since the victims are all two-time-losing scum. Rick and Rosanna strike up a friendship and soon become lovers. Rosanna steals Palmer's latest tape from Rick
and recognizes him by voice as her rapist. While she's out nailing Palmer, Rick searches her apartment and finds the tape and her disguises. Later when she confesses to him, Rick announces that her spree is over and destroys the tape, and they begin making love.
Joan Moran and David Garcia's screenplay is particularly incompetent in stitching together a coherent plot, even in its technical details (both Palmer and Rosanna leave enough fingerprints at their crime scenes to sink them both). And under Garcia's lumbering direction (even the gore effects are
clumsy), it takes laughingly and anticlimactically forever to reach its last-reel thesis. Rick exonerates Rosanna's killings with this mouthful: "We are stuck with courts that are prisoners of laws created by a political system that doesn't work." What he doesn't mention is the incompetant police
work on display in this film, resulting in cases being thrown out of court.
The female DEATH WISH vigilante received its first and still best outing in Abel Ferrara's no-nonsense thriller MS. 45. Here, Rosanna's clearly psychopathic behavior (she first shoots her victims in the genitals then moves on to slashed wrists, the injections of battery acid, etc.) remains totally
unexplored, and she's apparently left, at film's end, with Rick's collaboration, as a still functioning trial judge! The performances are uniformally meagre, with Osterhage at least turning in a semblance of a character.
This low-budget production looks cheap throughout; perhaps significantly, no production designer or art director is credited. (Violence, substance abuse, profanity, nudity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: Produced, directed and co-written by David Garcia, SEX CRIMES starts out as a promising portrait of cryptofeminist rage, but quickly collapses into substandard action fare. Rosanna (Maria Richwine) is a rising Los Angeles prosecutor who is brutally raped… (more)