Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987)

hard ticket to hawaii


Andy Sidaris directs and writes Hard Ticket to Hawaii, a 1987 continuance of the sleazy extravaganza that was Malibu Express. The action shifts to Hawaii, a locale that many of the filmmaker’s subsequent B-movies would hold dear. Once again, the cast is stacked with Playboy Playmates, Penthouse Pets, bit players, and soap stars.

As with Malibu Express, the universe is chipper. Characters are always looking for an opportunity to disrobe and hop in a hot tub. Bad guys play Frisbee on the beach, with guns dangled over their shoulders. Skateboarders carry blow-up dolls into battle. And a giant toxic snake is only a minor inconvenience.

Donna (Dona Speir) and Taryn (Hope Marie Carlton) are drug enforcement agents working undercover in Molokai. They fly a plane and deliver cargo, with Taryn trying to learn all she can from the veteran Donna. When a relatively tranquil pot operation is taken over by the heinous Seth (Rodrigo Obregón), they’re pressed into action.

Things are complicated by a mix-up involving a “snake infected by deadly toxins from cancer-infested rats.” Donna and Taryn dispatch the martial arts master Jade (Harold Diamond) and the ditzy Rowdy Abilene (Ronn Moss) to help out.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii starts things off on the “Malibu Express” yacht, with Rowdy a cousin of Darby Hilton’s Cody Abilene. This connective tissue with the previous film reveals that Rowdy is just as bad at shooting as his counterpart, but he has the same bedroom tendencies. He seems to be in charge of operations somehow, with Donna and Taryn calling him for advice.

Make no mistake, the two blondes drive this machine. Rowdy doesn’t show up in a major capacity until late in the game and the bulk of Hard Ticket to Hawaii involves watching Speir and Carlton scampering around Molokai. They fly a cargo plane, they hang out at Edy’s restaurant, they hook up with fluffy-haired dudes.

The women are more committed than Hinton’s Cody and that’s kind of unfair. Taryn is paired off with a dopey sports reporter named Jimmy John (Wolf Larson) and they get to rub up against each other in a gossamer but abrupt beach scene. Donna is waiting around for Rowdy and their scene involves his wild howls, while the succulent Edy (Cynthia Brimhall) is attached to Jade.

Rowdy and Jade speak in punchlines. They’re introduced practicing martial arts and cracking wise in offensive Asian accents. Donna and Taryn don’t fare much better, as they do their “best thinking in the Jacuzzi” and randomly take their tops off to do some serious investigating.

But this is a trashy movie and all is as it should be, from topless babes to exploding skaters. The latter accounts for one of the most ridiculous scenes, with Rowdy and Jade set upon by a skateboarding killer grasping a blow-up doll and a machine gun. Naturally, he’s handled in the best possible way.

The aforementioned snake is accountable for the goofiest scenes, with a late segment dedicated to handling the slinking absurdity. And there’s even a bit of crossdressing, with Michael Andrews playing an undercover bartender working for the enemy. There’s also a nunchaku-wielding musclewoman and some sumo wrestlers and…

Once again, Howard Wexler’s cinematography captures the bullets, bombs and babes. It’s an easy job, as the action scenes are so mindless they work in any angle and the sex scenes don’t require any motion in the ocean. At its core, Hard Ticket to Hawaii is a silly B-movie indulgence. It epitomizes trash in joyful fashion, serving as a reminder of the qualitative, grin-inducing power of perversity.


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