Today, in the year of 2012 when we scribble this, there is a film director by the name of Jim Wynorski. We’ve seen our fair share of Wynorski’s like ‘Vampire in Vegas’, ‘Cleavagefield’, ‘Camel Spiders’, ‘The Breastford Wives’… just to name a few. The man has directed almost a hundred movies, and I’m not sure we’ve seen a good one from the legendary auteur yet. The word ‘good’ being a relative term. But on this day we decided to dial back the clock to see where the madness known as Wynorski started. To visit a film from the early days of the man who made ‘The Devil Wears Nada’. This journey took us all the way back to 1985, and this movie ‘The Lost Empire’, listed as the very first Wynorski. So much talent, so much promise… where did it go Jim? Where did it go?
The film opens with a woman sporting an extra large pair of boobs buying jewelry. Be it 1985 or 2035, we know where the priorities of one Jim Wynorski will always be. Soon this establishment is visited by a trio of lame ninja sporting a weapon I can only describe as a shuriken yoyo. They kill the owner this store, and then kill up some cops responding to the disturbance with their retractable throwing stars, all in an effort to dig some jewel out of some statue. They suck at digging stuff out of statues by the way.
The critical mistake these ninjii made was that one of these cops was the brother of super badass Law Enforcement Officer Angel Wolfe (Melanie Vincz) and now she’s pissed. In his dying action, he gave Angel one of the shuriken yoyo’s, and while that meant nothing to Angel, when her man FBI agent Paul Coufos (Rick Stanton) saw it, he knew immediately that it meant terrorism, world destruction and organized crime and also that this was the work of Lee Chuck, an evil devil like creature, steeped in the dark arts, damned to murder someone every 24 hours to maintain his evil life flow. Say what? How he knew all of this by looking at a throwing star is beyond me, but we had to get that exposition in here somehow.
Armed with this info, Angel knows she must stop Lee Chuck, and his earthly doppelganger Dr. Sin Do (Angus Scrim). But how? Would you believe that on his remote island, Dr. Sin Do has some kind of competition where only women with big boobs are allowed to compete? I know, right? Thing is you need a trio to compete. Do you think Angel has two badass friends with big boobs? Why yes she does.
First say hello to the boobalicious ‘Native American’ goddess Whitestar (Raven De La Croix), and she cements her Native American cred by occasionally saying ‘kimosabe’, and speaking in broken Indian English once or twice in this movie. The other leg of our trio belongs to hardcore inmate Heather (the late Angela Aames) who we spot in a prison yard scrap with a leather clad dominatrix. Yes, that’s crazy. Crazier still was the wildly inappropriate prison gear these female inmates were wearing, and that there was a conveniently placed mud slosh pit right near this scrap for an awesome mud wrestling battle. Mud which will require Heather to take a shower. Outstanding.
Now that Angel has a crew, it’s time to take a private jet to the island of Dr. Sin Do and his big boob competition, with this competition lorded over by the completely evil Karo, as played by the legendary Robert Tessier. We miss you Bob. First our competitors must disrobe and get themselves probed and stuff. Naturally. And then they do a lot of jumping jacks. A lot. What does any of this have to do with anything? Hell if I know. What I do know is that Sin Do needs the Eyes of Avatar to rule the world and Rick the FBI agent has unwittingly brought them to the Lost Island. How did Rick get to the Lost Island? He swam, that’s how he got there. Most everybody else has to fly to get to this island, but Rick swam. Can Angel, Whitestar, Heather and a bunch of other healthy girls stop the evil Sin Do and his WMD UL listed secret weapon with the long shaft and the big red balls on either side? I don’t know about you, but I sure am glad Sin Do went through the process of getting his death ray UL Certified.
What we have here, in regards to Jim Wynorski and his movie ‘The Lost Empire’ is a classic case of Shyamalanitis. That being the tragic case of a director’s first movie being his best movie, and while I haven’t seen all 91 Wynorski’s, based on what I have seen I’m pretty sure this was my man’s magna opus. His Godfather. His Space Odyssey.
We can’t say that ‘The Lost Empire’ is a good movie, at least not with a clear conscious, but damn was it fun to sit through. Even though the copy I watched looked like a second generation VHS copy, it was clear that some care went into the production values with all of the evil electronics and probe devices on Sin Do Island, not to mention the clever wardrobe design for our myriad of boobalicious babes. The movie is both intentionally campy and unintentionally campy, and do we need to tell you that the unintended humor kicks the ass of the intended humor? It does. Completely. Plus one of the things that old school Wynorski didn’t suffer from, whereas Modern Wynorski often suffer from, is pacing issues. There is very little downtime in ‘The Lost Empire’ because either we’re watching bad fight scenes, or listening to hilariously bad dialog or watching large breasts bounce up and down.
Under normal circumstances ‘The Lost Empire’ would probably be considered a horrible movie. In 1985 it was probably considered a horrible movie. But today, looking back with a nostalgic eye and a working knowledge of what has become of the man who could’ve been great, ‘The Lost Empire’ is a borderline classic.