“Hell Comes to Frogtown” is not a piece of shit. Let’s start there. Imagine if John Carpenter had made a sequel to “Big Trouble in Little China” , only it took place after a nuclear apocalypse, and they couldn’t afford to get Kurt Russel or Kim Cattrall back… that movie might have been this movie.
The Premise: The world has been reduced to a wasteland after a nuclear and biological war. The war has caused some humans to mutate into amphibious looking creatures, and has caused some frogs to mutate into intelligent, humanlike creatures. The humans warred with the combined forces of the mutants and frogs, eventually ending up at an uneasy peace. Many of the humans have been rendered sterile/infertile from the effects of the war, and the females have taken control of the human government. MedTech is a group of governing human females who seek out fertile females and potent males, and force them to breed, in order to build up the human numbers and ensure their future. In the meantime, the frogs are kidnapping human females to keep as pleasure slaves because… let’s face it… the frog women are an acquired taste.
Sam Hell (Roddy Piper) is a wasteland ne’er-do-well who sleeps his way across the land leaving a string of pregnancies in his wake. Because of this, he becomes legendary. MedTech seeks him out and captures him, intending to use him as breeding stock. In order to force his cooperation, they lock explosives to his junk, threatening to blow it off if he tries to run, disobeys, or tries to remove the explosives.
Sam’s first mission, along with two very capable female soldiers from MedTech, is to enter mutant/frog territory (Frogtown… as if that weren’t obvious), and either recapture the human females, or impregnate them on the spot.
Sam Hell is Jack Burton. I don’t know how else to say it. The writers clearly took Burton’s character from BTILC (which had been released two years earlier), and copied it. Not only the character, but many aspects of the plot. Let’s see – womanizing troublemaker gets roped into rescuing women he cares nothing about. He enters a world he is unfamiliar with, facing strange, otherworldly challenges with the help of capable teammates, ends up falling in love with a blonde in a funny costume, stumbles his way through the obstacles with courage, despite a lack of skill, and eventually proves himself by taking out the main bad guy… by throwing a knife. Yes – This description literally applies to both films.
Sam Hell, himself, is a wise cracking, misogynist who talks tough, but can’t really back it up. Despite his physique, Sam is usually a bumbling fool. Just like Jack, Sam isn’t that good with guns. There’s a scene in which he gets ahold of a rocket launcher, but it doesn’t work. So, he throws it down in favor of a pistol, and empties the pistol’s magazine… and hits nothing. In fact, the only times he really shows himself to be combatively capable, like Burton, are with a blade! For example, he is able to throw a wakizashi with deadly effectiveness and accuracy! (It’s all in the reflexes.)
The acting is pretty bad, though Roddy is always somehow charismatic. The story is pretty straightforward – not terrible, but predictable. In fact, when “the dance of the three snakes” is mentioned, you immediately know exactly what they’re referring to, which does take the edge off of the reveal. I actually enjoyed this film. It was full of boobs and B-movie comedy. It was self-reflexively campy, and didn’t take itself seriously. For being low-budget, the mutant frog costumes were actually pretty good!
I suggest you watch this one, and imagine it as the unofficial, spiritual sequel to “Big Trouble in Little China” – it makes it more fun.
I give this one THREE out of FIVE explosive chastity belts.
If you want to watch an excellent, in-depth video review, check out Obscurus Lupa’s review here.