Hustler Squad (1976)
Let’s get the obvious implication out of the way. That is to state that this is not some production put together by the controversial Larry Flynt. No what we have here is another exploitation film via the Philippines market that takes the genesis of The Dirty Dozen and injects it with a twist in sexual content and sending deadly women on a suicidal mission as opposed to men.
“I guess what the world needs is a few more nymphomaniacs with killer instincts.”
After a midnight landing on a Japanese held island turns into a military disaster for a group of guerilla warfare fighters led by Ramon Revilla, the U.S. military assigns John Ericson to come up with a plan to infiltrate and destroy a retreat for high ranking officers in the Japanese military. This as opposed to the chateau in France that the Dirty Dozen had to take out. Like the German officers in the 1967 film, these Japanese officers will have the benefit of female companionship while taking time off from the brutalities of war.
Ericson hits upon the idea of recruiting prostitutes or women in prison to be trained in the art of warfare and send them in with the promise of passage to the U.S. and pardons for those with legal troubles. Assigned to Ericson is co-officer and real life wife to John, Karen Ericson. She is at first turned off by the whole idea as well as the hell raising John who seems to be a bit of an outlaw in the ways of military conduct. Something along the lines of a Hawkeye Pierce/Lee Marvin wannabe.
Scaling the Dirty Dozen down to four frisky females for what I am sure amounted to budgetary restraints, we have one doing time for murder, another who is a prostitute, one nurse who has an unnamed disease and a short time to live and the other a woman who wants to return to her homeland and kill Japanese soldiers after seeing her own family killed and herself raped.
Time to move ahead with basic training. Parachuting, target practice, scaling walls, hand to hand combat etc. Sadly what these women don’t have and constantly complain about is male companionship. John Ericson has to be on his toes to stave off the constant stares of the lusty group. This is an exploitation film let’s not forget. Like the Dozen’s mission, this too will almost be cancelled till Mrs. Ericson leads the girls into a war games statement that makes the upper brass take note of just how deadly these girls can be.
Unlike The Dirty Dozen, these girls are going to go it alone without the benefit of a commanding officer if they are to infiltrate the local nightclub on the island in order to find themselves brought to the Japanese fortress to carry out there acts of war. Think along the lines of mating before killing and you’ll get the imagery the producers are aiming at.
Hustler Squad was actually produced by Cirio H. Santiago who was behind some other popular titles of the genre including, The Big Doll House, TNT Jackson and Vampire Hookers. The latter a must see John Carradine effort. Fans of these Philippine exports should recognize Vic Diaz popping up as a nasty looking soldier in a Japanese uniform. It’s almost safe to say if you’ve seen one of these exploitation efforts by way of the Philippines, then you’ve seen Vic Diaz before.
Totally watchable for the wrong reasons this turned out to be another fun low budgeter of the exploitation market and far better than the current rating it scores on IMDB. Does no one have a sense of humor anymore?
Sadly all our girls don’t make it home and as the final credits rolled I almost expected George Kennedy to pop up at the end as he did in The Dirty Dozen slightly altering his closing dialogue. “They gave their bodies in the line of duty.”