Extended to full length, however, it loses a lot of spark … much like Rodriguez’s own “Grindhouse” spin-off, “Machete.” Still, any fan of the women-in-prison genre won’t hate himself for watching, as it offers all of the film subgenre’s mainstays, including the sapphic ones.
Cody Jarrett’s low-budgeter concerns go-get-’em WPNS (get it?) news reporter Valerie March (Geneviere Anderson, who’s prettier than the box art suggesting a transvestite Christina Applegate) wishing to go undercover as a prisoner to expose to the Sugar State Women’s Prison as the sex-and-slavery hovel it really is. Shortly after donning hooker getup, she lands herself behind its bars.
It’s the kind of place that houses the worst of the worst, where … well, let’s let the sexy Warden Buckner (Linda Dona) fill us in: “Life in this compound can be pretty damn hard unless you have friends. I’m talking about beatings, gang rape, dysentery.”
Check, check and check! Jarrett gleefully submits his actresses to much mayhem and misery before they get that much-desired revenge. “Sugar Boxx” is marginally violent, occasionally funny and aggressively stupid, while not fully being able to embrace its drive-in roots. Casting Jack Hill, Kitten Natividad and the late Tura Satana helps (as does having little money, as the production featurette attests), but a little more creativity is required to pull off the pastiche/homage to the point where it looks authentic.
I admired it more than loved it, getting in step with its funky groove as it shimmied its way forth. In terms of silly-minded fightin’ foxy female flicks, it’s not up to the titillating heights of “Bitch Slap,” but for a mere 86 minutes, it will do. —Rod Lott