Feel The Heat (1986)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Catch The Heat
Review Date: 5/2/20
Cast: Tiana Alexandra, David Dukes, Rod Steiger, cameo by Professor Toru Tanaka

"That was my friend you tried to rape. Now give me names or I'll give you a vagina!"

An embarrassingly awful and delightfully tacky slice of the 80's. A female cop named Checkers Goldberg (spunky Tiana Alexandra) goes to Argentina in the guise of a naïve Chinese dancer named Cinderella Pu in order to take down a drug lord named Jason Hannibal (Rod Steiger). Her partner is an annoying and lovesick dope named Waldo (David Dukes) who offers little more than comic relief and awkward sexual tension. Toru Tanaka shows up briefly as an assassin/bodyguard who could easily be confused with Harold Sakata (Oddjob).

It's by no means a good movie and it's barely even a competent one, but I was smitten by Vietnamese actress Tiana Alexandra. She's extremely cute and charming, and gives a wonderful physical performance. She's also a surprisingly decent actress, even though she's strapped with appallingly bad dialog. She embraces her offensively racist and stereotypical Suzie Wong role with a knowing wink and plays everything tongue-in-cheek. The action scenes are weak, and even though Tiana has all the right moves and an impressively athletic figure, her delivery lacks power and fails to be convincing. It also doesn't help that the cinematography and editing cut away from all of her hits, and the overly exaggerated canned sound effects cheapen the end results. She's also heavily doubled in a number of scenes, and quite clearly by a bulky male in a couple of shots. The music is bland and generic 80's synth pop, which was a hallmark of the time period.

Alexandra's husband wrote the story, which was obviously tailored just for her. She only worked on a handful of films during her brief career, and it's unfortunate that she wasn't able to build and expand on her action persona. Hollywood in the 80's wasn't open to female action actresses, and especially not Asian-American performers. Hong Kong was the only place to find that kind of action at the time.

Other notable lines:
Danny Boy: "I've never made it with a China chick."
Checkers: "Neither have I!"

"Federal agents do not kick people in the head!"