Random Film of the Week: Future Women

The Girl From Rio 1969 MPHey, I love looking at naked ladies in bad movies as much as the next guy or gal who loves looking at naked ladies in bad movies, but a film like the incomprehensible mess that is Future Women (or The Girl From Rio, Rio ’70, City Without Men, The Seven Secrets of Sumuru, Sumuru: Queen of Femina, and of all things, Mothers of America) makes me want to shift that hobby to watching paint dry or grass grow instead.

Directed by cult schlockmesiter supremo Jesús “Jess” Franco and seemingly edited by a team of eyeless chimps who probably dropped the film into a blender (and who also did some of the wretchedly amusing “special” effects), this is one of those lame Bond copycats that gets nothing right because its source material never should have been altered into the 007 wannabe nonsense-fest that will have your brain running out of the room about halfway in. But yeah, it’s got a bunch of naked and half-naked ladies and is kinda sorta of based on a story by Sax Rohmer , so there’s that.

(thanks, Sachiho Kunihiro!)

The problem is, the very second you start paying attention to the plot, your brain will get lost trying to tie what’s supposed to be the plot together once it falls through one of the many holes in that plot. Between the completely unlikable faux James Bond “hero” and the fact that an entire island full of women trained to kill can’t shoot down a small bunch of tiny helicopters (that’s not exactly empowering, ladies!) makes this a pretty infuriating time waster. As for that plot, it’s got something about the faux Bond in possession of a suitcase full of millions of dollars that everyone wants including Sumuru (Shirley Eaton). She’s the leader of Femina, that aforementioned island packed full of trained female assassins and soldiers.

As you’ll see, the ladies are skilled at using their sex appeal and all sorts of weapons, torture and probably those spiked heels and sexy outfits they’re all forced to wear by their fearless leader. But Sumuru’s leadership skills are pure Bond villain 101. She’s not the sharpest stick in the shed and somehow lets her second in command pull one over on her and fails to properly punish her. Then again, the plot hinges on this, so it’s a case where your eyes commence rolling and never stop as the film progresses. For some reason, the great actor George Sanders shows up as an important character, but he’s slumming for a paycheck here at best.

As lousy as the film is, Franco gets in a few funky camera tricks, the costumes are wild and campy and some of the actors seem to be having fun. The issue for me is the male lead is a jerk, the lead villain inefficient and the actual “sexy” factor may have worked back in 1969, but comes off as needlessly forced today. Still, as terrible as this film is, it still makes more sense than something like that horrific (and massively expensive) Bond pastiche Casino Royale. Well, sort of. That battle on Femina manages to be annoying because the ladies and their nice sexy costumes have worse aim than a Death Star filled with Imperial Stormtroopers.

I can’t comment on the acting here, as its uniformly lousy and I don’t want to have to recall scenes that stand out. You’ll see if you’re still interested and click that YouTube link above. The film is in the public domain, so it’s worth a look if you have time to kill and want to watch a train wreck that’s strangely duller that it should be even with all that exposed flesh. Just don’t take what you see seriously, as your brain doesn’t need the stress of thinking about this quickie more than it needs to be. Interestingly enough, the film is a sequel to 1967’s The Million Eyes of Sumuru, which I haven’t seen but find myself strangely compelled to track down one of these days. Not for the ladies, mind you. Just to see if the first film makes more sense than the second one. Eh, I’ll get to it one of these days. One of you guys or gals can chime in and tell me if I missed anything.

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