THE RETRIEVERS (1984) South American made espionage/spy/Rambo rip-off type of movie

retrievers_betaboxTheme Song: Retrievers Theme by Katey Segal. Yes that Katey Segal. The rest is pretty much stock action-movie music (not the good kind).

Interesting Dated References: Ninja-ism, South America being a hot bed for espionage activity, yellow shag carpet.

Best Line: In reference to a woman, from one man to another — “Rather than looking at something like that, you could be eatin’ it.”

Social Context: Something to do with Big Brother espionage-type theories that were popular in the early 80s.

Summary: Holy shit. I’m about to tell you something and you have to know that I’m not lying to you. When they edited this movie, they must have needed to go back and make additional edits after the sound was already mixed down and as a result the music fucking skips/changes along with the camera shot. This happens three times in the first 3 minutes. We’ll see if it keeps going. The Retrievers starts out with a team of “Special Op’s” agents invading the home of some wealthy Mexican guy. They kill his staff with various weapons, including lawn shears, and then attack the family who are distracted by a birthday party. I’m sure all of this sounds real fucking familiar since it is the plot to approximately 437 action adventure movies from the late 70s and early 80s. Not only that, but I totally recognize this soundtrack music as the stock music one of the studios was distributing in these days and placed in about 423 of said action flicks.

After the family is attacked, we switch scenes and the fucking music skipping thing happens again. Okay, I assume now we have flashed forward. We see a man and a woman lounging around a pool. Some guy walks in and talks to said lounging man, who has now been identified as Tom. According to the plot Tom is supposed to be the main character. One important thing of all these spy/ninja/action movies is to have a gripping leading man, but this lounging pool guy Tom is anything but. His intruding friend encourages him to join up with “The Company” so he too can drive a Ferrari. Then we dive right in to their first mission, which appears to be some type of really intense phone tapping mission that involves fights, kung fu, and death. Let me remind you all they did was tap a phone.

You know, in Dolemite, the fights were really sloppy, but it came across humorously. In The Retrievers, it’s humorous, but not in the enjoyable kind of way. It’s more humorous in the, “What the fuck am I doing up on a Wednesday night watching this shitty movie with shitty fight sequences and drinking vodka mixed with Sprite from McDonalds” type of way. As I think about it, this isn’t really all that funny. Regardless, Tom is now a full-fledged member of the “The Company” and his still unnamed friend is coaching him on what to do. There’s already been like six references to South America. That was pretty popular in all these action flicks from 1980-1986.

Suddenly there is a cut to a character named Danny, who has decided to leave “The Company.” When some cronies come to retrieve him, things go badly, and the cronies call on “The Company” to come save them. There’s a lot of secret jargon talk that is never clarified. If I was high and it was 1984 this talk may have mystified me, but now it has no effect. It’s a little disheartening when the plot becomes totally convoluted at the 20 minute mark, and these torture flashback scenes Tom goes through are no help. Eventually, Tom realizes this Danny character was trying to write a book about “The Company” and decides to take matters into his own hands. Apparently he has decided he doesn’t want to rejoin “The Company” and has taken it upon himself to defend Danny and his able-bodied sister and her friend. Then, somehow Tom’s girlfriend dies and he decides that the book must get published. This sucks.

Wait, actually, there was just a pretty cool gunshot to the head that seemed like they placed a fire hose filled with spaghetti sauce under the victim’s head. I guess that was one redeemable quality. Just one. 90 minutes. One redeemable quality.

This main guy Tom seems to be running around avoiding assassins sent by “The Company.” He is accompanied by Danny’s sister. Somewhere along the line I think the Danny guy died or got taken captive. Who the fuck names the main action hero of their movie “Tom?” I mean, at least give us a “Drake” or “Gault” or some shit. I can just imagine if this would have evolved into a trilogy or some shit: “Tom: The Retrievers, Part 2.” Okay, after a bunch of dodging killers, there’s a sex scene between Tom and Danny’s sister. The song is horrible but it’s sung by Katey Segal (Peg from Married With Children). Not even that little tidbit will save this fucking movie.

Suddenly, there’s a bubble bath scene involving the one woman willing to publish the book. For some reason, most likely 50 dollars, we see her breasts as she gets out of the tub. Tom and the other guy’s sister sneak in and ask her to publish the book. She agrees and then she takes them to an underground print shop. It looks nothing like a real print shop. What the fuck, I wish my job at a print shop was like this.

Tom goes around the streets asking guys to help out and do bindery and shit. This is hilarious. He’s actually bribing them with booze, which is probably how I got hired at a print shop as well. Holy fuck, the entire “printing sequence” is done as a photo montage. I want to die. Then the bad guy attacks the print shop. The print shop employees win (but not really because they work in the printing industry). Tom frees Danny, who it turns out was held captive, not dead. Then Tom rescues Danny, either out of guilt for banging his sister, or to be a hero in the movie, I’m not sure. Then there is a big Karate showdown including a hilarious ninja-star-in-the-forehead resulting in death. Then the bad guys die and the book gets published. Then I go to bed half-drunk and think about all the ways I’ve fucked my life up.

Poster and Box Art: During my investigations I never found any evidence this was released in theaters. The only art for this movie that I could find was the box art above. It is pretty well illustrated in a very comic book style. No artist signature or credit is given.

Availability: If you care this is available on DVD, although I can’t really see the need to seek this out.

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