“I was born for water sports!”
— J. Tyler Ward (Christian Letelier) in Return to Savage Beach (1998)
Never let it be said that I’m not a completist!
About a month ago, I decided that it would be fun to write up a review of Hard Ticket To Hawaii that I could schedule to publish while I was on vacation. At the time, I really should have realized that this would probably lead to me also watching and reviewing all of the sequels (and the one prequel) to that film. And that’s exactly what happened!
1998’s Return to Savage Beach is the final chapter of the story of the world’s most inept intelligence agency, L.E.T.H.A.L. (That stands for Legion to Ensure Total Harmony and Law, which is almost as Orwellian a name as Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council.) Once again, security at L.E.T.H.A.L’s Dallas office has been breached. This time, it done by a woman named Sofia (Carrie Westcott), who randomly showed up and passed out slices of drugged pizza. Of course, everyone ate the pizza. After all, why would a bunch of national security professionals be suspicious of a total stranger handing out food? After everyone’s unconscious, Sofia steals the file on Savage Beach.
Don’t remember Savage Beach? Savage Beach was a previous Andy Sidaris film, in which two other undercover agents ended up on a desert island and discovered a hidden treasure of World War II gold. If you still don’t remember the film, don’t worry. Return to Savage Beach contains several minutes of flashbacks from Savage Beach.
Return to Savage Beach also features a handful of flashbacks to the previous Sidaris film, Day of the Warrior. That’s because The Warrior (Marcus Bagwell), who was previously established as being a homicidal maniac, is now suddenly one of the good guys. Apparently, one of the people that he murdered in the previous film was actually a serial killer and, as a result, he was only given three months in prison. Now, he’s out and he’s the newest L.E.T.H.A.L. agent. He’s an expert on lost treasures and that’s a good thing because it turns out that there’s even more treasure on Savage Beach than anyone realized.
L.E.T.H.A.L. is determined to get that treasure, which means that Willow Black (Julie Strain) has to assign her best agents to the mission. (Of course, the best L.E.T.H.A.L. agent is the equivalent of a bigamist who tells his second wife that he’s working for the CIA as a cover whenever he has to go on vacation with his other family.) And so, Tyler (Christian Letelier), Cobra (Julie K. Smith), Tiger (Shae Marks), and Doc Austin (Paul Logan) are sent to explore Savage Beach.
However, L.E.T.H.A.L. is not the only organization returning to Savage Beach. The evil Morales (Rodrigo Obegron) is determined to get the treasure as well. Morales wears a Phantom Of The Opera-style mask because he claims that he was horribly scarred when he was blown up during his last trip to Savage Beach. (Cue more flashbacks.) Morales not only has Sofia working for him but he also employs three ninjas who wear kabuki makeup.
Maybe you’re getting the feeling that Return to Savage Beach is not a serious film and it most definitely is not. Like most Sidaris films, Return to Savage Beach is cheerfully aware of its own absurdity. Towards the end of the film, after about a dozen or so outlandish twists, one of the L.E.T.H.A.L. agents even exclaims, “How many endings can this story have!?” The song that plays over the end credits asks the exact same question.
All in all, Return to Savage Beach is a pretty dumb movie. I compared the acting in Day of the Warrior to Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reilly playing Brock Landers and Chest Rockwell in Boogie Nights and that’s even more true when it comes to Return to Savage Beach. At times, the stupidity of it all is amusing and, at other times, you just find yourself checking the time.
Return to Savage Beach was Andy Sidaris’s final film. All in all, Sidaris directed thirteen films (12 dramatic features and one documentary). Some of them were really bad. Some of them were amusingly over-the-top. One of them, Hard Ticket To Hawaii, has become something of a mainstay on TCM Underground. Good or bad, Sidaris definitely had his own style. In the end, no one would ever mistake any of his films as having been directed by anyone other than Andy Sidaris.