Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 20th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1999 (Broken Dolls), USA, 2000 (Blind Target)
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Jesus Franco (Broken Dolls), Kevin Collins, J. Douglas Wentworth, Jesus Franco
Cast: Paul Lapidus, Lina Romay, Christie Levin, Exequiel Caldas, Mavi Tienda, Guillermo Agranati, Carlos Braun (Broken Dolls), Rachel Sheppard, Tatiana Cohen, Oliver Dennis, Lina Romay, Roger Pavlovich, Linnea Quigley, Steve Barrymore, Paul Lapidus, Mavi Tienda, Robert King, Joaquin Phre, Brian D. Horrorwitz, Peter Evanko, Exequiel Caldas, Emilio Schargorodsky, Johnnie Carson, Genevieve Geneslay, Hazzel Lennon (Blind Target)
DVD released: December 7th, 2010
Approximate running times: 82 minutes (Broken Dolls), 86 Minutes (Blind Target)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Stereo English
DVD Release: SRS Cinema
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.95
Broken Dolls: The inhabitants of a tropical paradise have become bored with their mundane lives. Wanting a way off the island some of the inhabitants plot against the leader of the island. After they discover his hidden treasure.
Premise wise Broken Dolls is ripe with all the things that one would expect from a Jess Franco film. Visually it is one of his stronger efforts to emerge from his collaborations with One Shot Productions. The story is simple and straight forward enough that things never get to bogged down in the abstract tangents that are all to familiar in so many of Jess Franco other One Shot Productions. The film features a wide array of quirky characters which are anchored by Paul Lapidus’s maniacal performance as a former vaudevillian actor, who has become the de facto leader of the island. Without a doubt the scenes in which his characters interacts with himself are easily the most entertaining moments. Another area where this film does well is its brisk pacing.
Unfortunately this film also has it fare share of flaws with the English dubbing often getting in the way of the performances. Also many of the accents are often so thick that trying to making out what is being said proves to be a problem. Also those expecting an ample amount of blood and sex. Will be disappointed as all the bloodshed is saved for the finale and the bulk of the erotica is tame even by Jess Franco’s standards. Despite these shortcomings there are a handful of moments that save this film from being an utter disaster.
Blind Target: When an author, who has written a controversial book about a dictator that has assumed power in her homeland. She finds herself caught up in an assassination plot.
Jess Franco is no stranger when it comes to directing espionage thrillers having helmed films like, Two Undercover Angels and Kiss Me Monster. Unfortunately when compared to these aforementioned films Blind Target pales in comparison in every way. First off Blind Target is a tedious thriller that is devoid of tension and quickly becomes predictable. Other areas in which this film is lacking is its lethargic pacing and laughable fight scenes. It is not surprising that this film comes up short in so many ways as it is the antitheses of what one would expect from a Jess Franco. The erotica feels forced and the visuals are often sedated. This film’s only saving grace is Lina Romay’s performance as a sadistic government agent, who specializes in torture.
Broken Dolls and Blind Target are both presented in their original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratios. Both films were shot on video and the quality is what you would expect from a production shot on video. The image tends to soft, black levels are generally weak and colors at times look muted. Also there are some mild instances of combing present.
Each film comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. Background noise varies in degree and issues with distortion are minimal. In all these audio mixes are limited in range and at times I found myself adjusting the volume to the hear the dialog.
This release comes with a static menu that has two options, Broken Dolls and Blind Target. There is no extra content. Overall another affordable Jess Franco double feature from SRS Cinema. Who once again pair two previous released titles at their most affordable price to date.