Comments Off on Silk

From low-budget movie maestro Cirio H. Santiago comes Silk (1986). Silk (Cec Verrell), a super “smooth” cop, is out to bust up a narcotics kingpin in Honolulu. In her wake is a trail of dead men, all suspects, who preferred her harsher brand of justice. Silk even has a theme song that announces what a badass she is at both the start and end of the film.

The appeal of Silk is little more than the excitement that goes with seeing a woman in the tough cop role. Yes she’s brutal and quasi-fascist, but she’s also super stylish, sexually aggressive, a martial artist, and Honolulu’s only hope at getting smack off of the streets. Politics aside, all of this would be even more palettable if Cirio H. Santiago hadn’t paced this actioner like a later episode of Columbo. Visually Silk feels more like an eighties made for television movie than it does a proper film, even one of Santiago’s B-Movies.

By the time he made Silk Santiago had been in the movie business for a couple decades churning out small exploitation films at a rapid speed. His style is workmanlike, serving the narrative only as much as it needs with his selection of images. Like his frequent collaborator Roger Corman, Santiago wasn’t so much invested in the film itself as he was in the marketability of the film.

Though set in Hawaii Silk was very clearly shot in the Philippines. The actors have been dubbed into english for the most part often by voice actors who make some of the more outlandish lines seem even more offbeat. At one point Silk says to her beau of a suspect “He served in the same unit as you did in Nam.” to which he replies “Nam? Vietnam?”. Moments like these make for some pretty stupendous, albeit unintentional, hilarity.

Out on DVD from Code Red Silk will definitely appeal to fans of eighties action movies and Corman-esque B-Movies in general. I perused some of the user reviews on Letterboxd after watching Silk and was surprised how many viewers felt mislead by the DVD cover of Cec Verrell in a white bra brandishing a handgun. It’s an unwritten rule that low budget movies sell themselves as something they are not. You’re almost never going to see the movie on the poster or the DVD sleeve.