Thursday, February 8, 2018

This Bud's for You: WE ARE ANGELS: FINALLY WE FLY (1997)

When we last left off with convicts-turned-fake-priests Father Orso (Bud Spencer) and Father Zach (Philip Michael Thomas) they were sitting down for a feast in the tiny village of San Rolando. As the second episode begins, they have settled down and decided to help the people. They are planting flowers, offering sound spiritual advice, and content with their newfound status as religious figures. Ha, just kidding. Zach is ogling nekkid girls down at the waterfall (including his main object of desire, Lupita) and Orso is thinking of ways to get out of this hell. The opportunity arrives when their superior Father Campana (Renato Scarpa) entrusts them to take village-made pots ‘n stuff into the city to cash in with a Campana’s contact in the city. Unfortunately, the deaf-and-dumb Father Raphael is tagging along for the ride up river on the riverboat owned by McQuade (Alfie Wise). No worries, Orso thinks, they’ll just ditch him after they get the money for the trinkets.

Once in the city they head to visit Don Medina (Marc Macaulay, the Sheriff from the SWAMP THING TV series), who runs Medina Ecological Center. Oh damn, if ‘80s and ‘90s movies have taught me anything, any white dude running an “ecological center” is totally putting toxins in the water. After receiving a cold shoulder, Orso and Zach squeeze Medina to pay top dollar for the items, resulting in $4,000 cool dollars to fund their escape into Panama. However, Medina isn’t on the up-and-up and gets his muscle to get the money back by demanding 100% unloading fees. This results in a funny scene where Spencer tells them that is fine, but they have to pay him for getting off the boat and using my air fees. The baddies don’t agree, so you know what the means. Head thumpin’ time courtesy of Sir Bud! With the money back in their grasp, they get some fancy duds and colored drinks. Always the letch, Zach asks a pretty waitress what she is doing tonight and she replies, “I’m committing suicide.” When he asks her about the next night, she says, “The same.”

Looking to make their escape via plane, the duo head to visit Sagreste (Max Herbrechter), a old prison friend of Zach’s who now works as a mechanic. He has a cessna plane for them, but needs $10,000 to get it into running (flying?) shape. They give him a $2,000 deposit and try to figure a way to get the rest of the money. Orso soon sees “divine providence” in the form of a local casino and they head in to scam the place with a pair of loaded dice. Unfortunately, Don Medina also owns this casino and doesn’t take kindly to losing more money to the duo. His thugs attack them in the parking lot, leaving them penniless and back in the last place they want to be - the village. Campana makes them give confession and, instead of condemning them, he suggests they go rob the casino holdings when it is going to the bank. What happened to that “turn the other cheek” stuff? “The Devil must be caught by his horns,” argues Campana. Hey, I’m down. By the way, if you think this “we have money/we don’t have money” stuff is getting out of hand, just wait.

Orso and Zach case the armored car heading to the bank, but when they burst in with their guns the place is empty. The go to the back and find everyone is being held hostage by...Napoleon Duarte (Kabir Bedi) and his revolutionaries. Viva la revolucion and holy episode continuity crossover! Duarte recognizes Orso and Zach as the men who helped him escape prison, so he thinks they are there to support the revolution. However, our faux friars ain’t having it and steal the armored truck with Medina’s right hand man, Escobar, in the back with the money handcuffed to his wrist. They guy gives up the loot rather quickly when they build a fire around the truck. Unfortunately, when they get back to Sagreste he has left a note that he is in the hospital. Not looking to board McQuade’s boat with a cool million while it is being searched, the resourceful Zach hides the briefcase in a Medina shipping container. Can you see where this is going? Yup, it is a race to find the case while both Duarte and Medina are popping up at every turn.

Sorry if that summary is a bit too detailed, but there really is a lot going on in this episode. It seems like every ten minutes the leads are gaining and losing their fortunes. But it makes for a fun, WHAT’S UP, DOC? (1972) style series of twists and turns. This one is a bit lighter on the action (sadly, no car stunts) but makes up for it with a big brawl at a warehouse at the end; watch for a totally random bit where Macaulay suddenly whips out some really impressive martial arts moves. With all the plot dynamics laid out in episode one, the series starts to find its groove with the comedy and characters here. Spencer is his usual Spencerific self and Thomas quickly grows on you as the guy who hits on every female in sight. Another recurring character is McQuade, the Scottish ship captain who is so Scottish he plays bagpipes when he pulls into port. As established in episode one, McQuade is always demanding money for every little thing. Just watch him here as he stares intently at the bills when Orso and Zach first recover their money. Another funny bit has Father Torment - a masochist who loves the act of religious contrition via pain - wondering if the missing Orso and Zach are being tortured by bad guys and mentions how he would gladly take their place. LOL! Another thing I really enjoyed about the ending of this episode is how Orso and Zach are finally rich and buy tickets to escape to Miami. Decked out in their flashy new duds, they get to the check in counter and are asked for their papers. “Details,” grumbles Zach. It is a good hook to make sure you tune into the next episode, which I guess I’ll do. Oh, also, just in case you were worried, it is revealed quickly at the end that in addition to being a crime lord that Medina also has been releasing toxic chemicals into the local water supply. Whew! I was scared for a minute there I’d have to contact the Movie Cliche Police. Crisis avoided.

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